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Najib is wrong about Opposition!

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By Moaz Nair

Najib Razak, the prime minister, fallaciously thinks that the Opposition in the country is all about Anwar Ibrahim. So as the election fervour is making its grip among politicians on both divides there is a surly group purportedly with Najib’s blessings and with the obvious help of the mainstream media adopting character assassination as a political offense on Anwar.

Indulging in gutter politics must be a bad diktat on Najib’s part. He does not seem to have the political will to stop this garbage politics. The people have had enough of this mucky approach to politics.

Najib is fast digging his own grave. He is also dragging UMNO into the bog faster than anyone could think of.

Najib is still oblivious of the fact that the people have opportunely accepted a two-party system for the country. They feel that with such a system there can be an apposite check-and-balance of a government for the betterment of the nation. Anwar is thus not the real issue here, as what the people are demanding is a sustainable two-party system for a better deal from politicians.

Many capable leaders blossoming in the Opposition

It is no more Anwar that will determine the fate of the Opposition as how Najib will determine the fate of UMNO. The people are now wary looking into the performance of the nation on the whole – comparing this with the sterling performance of the four states under the Opposition. The outcome of this observation will see which party can take control of the nation after the 13th general election – with or without Anwar.

It is a known fact that there are many capable young leaders blossoming in the Opposition who can at any time replace Anwar as the leader. But Anwar on his part has done one great service as a politician to the nation and that is, he has helped unify the Opposition into a cohesive force against Barisan Nasional (BN). This is his bequest for all Malaysians to treasure, though this political scenario may not be in UMNO’s favour.

To UMNO, it must always be UMNO-led BN – the one and only coalition – to govern this nation. But UMNO-led BN has literarily failed the nation after 54 years of holding on to power. It has observably bred arrogance among the leaders. The perception is that widespread corruptions, abuse of power and mistrustful financial mismanagement have put the country in severe debt. The country if allowed to proceed in this manner will soon be on the brink of bankruptcy. This is self-made by UMNO and it is not the issue of Anwar here that UMNO is sinking.

Anwar is now 64 years old and under him in PKR are many talented leaders who can take over his place if he decides to retire from active politics. Anwar has for long unassumingly groomed a few potential personalities for this job within the Opposition pact, unlike what Najib has done within UMNO.

Is all for himself

Unlike Anwar, Najib as a politician is all for himself. He has little confidence in his deputy, Muhyuddin Yassin, who he sees as an immediate threat to him if he fails to garner enough support for UMNO in the 13th general election. Neither has he much confidence in any other stalwarts in UMNO as he considers them all as threats to his position as well. He is all alone fighting a battle within his party and against the Opposition. Daim aptly described Najib as “a general without an army.”

Ambitious Khairy Jamaluddin has been put in cold-storage right after Najib took over as prime minister for fear that this young leader will mount a “coup” to topple him. Neither is Mukhriz Mahathir or Hishamuddin Hussein his trusted and reliable allies. Many political observers believe that Rosmah Mansor, Najib’s rib, is playing a subtle role in ensuring that Najib remains the prime minister.

But then Najib is a man all for himself – trying tremendously hard to build up himself as a political icon. He spent the past three years more on enhancing his image rather than building the nation. He has the proclivity to only hear pleasant things from those around him, play safe in politics and astutely keep away from controversial issues. On the ground the people perceive him as a leader with a lot of skeletons in the closet and unfortunately these images do keep haunting him. And this too has nothing to do with Anwar.

An UMNO member has this say about Najib: “Never in the history of UMNO has so controversial a figure become its leader. And this has no doubt become a flavoursome fodder for the Opposition.” Najib play-safe approach to politics is much to the detriment of UMNO. He does not even have the political guts to ask Sharizat Jalil quit her post as Wanita Chief, or her ministerial post with immediate effect since the RM250million NFCorp scandal cropped up. The complaints against most of the misdemeanours in his government have been swept under the carpet. Denial syndrome has become the trademark of his way of governance. Beyond that, Najib is well-known for his flip-flop economic policies and this has made the people lose confidence in him as a leader. Some UMNO members would still prefer the Mahathir-style of leadership where firmness in decisions was the order. The general perception is also that Najib has failed to mend up the image of the police, judiciary and the MACC. This too has nothing to do with Anwar.

Evasive to the many complaints

The people perceive UMNO under Najib is tainted with widespread corruption and cronyism. There is lack of transparency in his economic plans despite his promise to the people that the government will be more accountable in all financial dealings. The EPF (Employment Provident Fund) has been reduced to a mere 40% as a chunk of it has been taken by the government to give out as loans to cronies with trifling amount in interests. As to whom the money was lent to, nobody knows all. And many contracts given out under negotiated tenders have failed and the companies bailed out. And nobody understands all why this process should continue.

Najib’s denial and defensive ways of getting out of criticism has become his trademark. He has been evasive to the many complaints leveled against him on his failed economic policies, the many shady issues relating to the procurement of defence equipment, huge commissions paid out for these transactions, the Altantuya’s murder case, the AG’s and police misdemeanours, his cronies becoming richer, he and his rib’s expensive lifestyle, financial leakages in government expenses, wastage of public funds, poor health service that is going to be revamped soon with a crony-based ICare Health Scheme, deteriorating standard of education, the poor becoming poorer and worst of all racial politics and the lack of religious tolerance – all of which have made him being perceived as a weak prime minister. The Opposition is thus gaining so much strength for all these reasons – not duly to Anwar’s charisma as a leader per se.

They will spin to Najib’s tune

UMNO under Najib’s leadership has become very weak – the weakest since Mahathir officially left the scene. UMNO is now being perceived as a party more for the elite. It’s branded as a party where leaders drive expensive cars, own high-end properties locally and overseas, have an expensive taste in life and are big-time spenders, are corrupt and arrogant. They hear ministers and their families becoming filthy rich within a short period of time after holding top political posts when the ordinary people are becoming poorer.

They hear arrogant ministers and their children getting involved in shady social activities and scuffles. Apparently, UMNO has lost support from those who are aware of all these misdeeds by their leaders and family members. Only some rural voters are still unaware of all this. So, losing the support of the urban and learned voters Najib’s only resources now is to go round duping the rural voters. Only in this arena could he mischievously side track the truth and play the usual game of race and religion to win the support of the Malays.

And for this to materialise effectively the mainstream media (MSM) is used all-out to cover up issues detrimental to UMNO and keep on lying to the masses. MSM will spin to Najib’s tune to mislead the innocent rural population into believing all the blatant lies on Anwar and the Opposition. And with that comes some short-term rewards for these people such as the BR1M (Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia) RM500 “bribe” to make them feel good about the government. And with this too comes all the promises that can never be fulfilled after the general election – for not only the poor Malays but also the poor Indians and Chinese.

The majority Malays are becoming poorer by the day as nothing much has reached them under the NEP. The poor among them even have to take a big PTPTN loan for their education when children of ministers and their cronies have the means or are given scholarships to further their studies overseas. When the ordinary Malaysians are forced to study locally, children of these wealthy and well-connected people could afford overseas’ education. The Chinese and Indians too are pissed off with all the basic but empty promises given to them sby UMNO for the past 54 years. The Chinese gets the least from the government. They have to stand on their own feet to survive and fortunately they have the resilience to do this. Thus those disappointed with Najib and UMNO-led BN are picking on the Opposition. Why blame Anwar then for all the misdeeds created by Najib and UMNO?

The recent “nambikei-tembikai” issue

And to survive education is important to the Chinese community as they do not want their children to be deprived of good education wherein positive traits are being nurtured in their children. To the Chinese, education is always a wise investment. This is not to promote language bigotry of any sort but to instil in the young some good values in life in order to survive and become more resilient. Over 60,000 Malay pupils are also studying in Chinese schools for this same purpose. But the government cannot even provide Chinese schools adequate trained teachers in Mandarin when religious vernacular schools are being fully helped.

The Indians are of course the most pathetic group and are marginalised in many ways. The recent “nambikei-tembikai” issue raised by Hindraf is yet another witty reminder to Najib that the Indians can only hope for nothing under his leadership. Over 60% of the Indians are still poor and are now aware of all the empty promises made by UMNO for the past 54 years. And, unsurprisingly, they are opting for an alternative government to change their fate.

For all the dissatisfaction, Malaysians of all races are looking for a better political deal and thus the advent of a two-party system. They cannot depend on a single party – BN– to determine their future. Today we observe that the Opposition has managed to garner support of over half of the Malaysian voters.

Credit should be given to Anwar, no doubt, for making the people aware of all the shortcomings under UMNO-led BN and for his effort in creating a strong Opposition. But the Opposition that exists today has grown much stronger and formidable than Anwar. Even without Anwar, the Opposition will remain as a robust entity in Malaysian politics. The reality of having a two-party system has now become imbued in the people’s psyche all because of UMNO’s failure for the past 54 years and not just because of Anwar factor.

Not all UMNO members are with Najib, though. Many UMNO members are dejected by what is going on under Najib’s leadership. But being very feudal-minded they would naturally put up a stance that they support the party. The 2008 general election saw almost half of UMNO members vote for the Opposition. This is how real Malays show their protest against an entity they hate.

“Backdoor” ministers and senators

They are also not happy that Najib has appointed too many “backdoor” ministers by first making them senators. “Najib must be the only prime minister in Malaysian history to have done so at the chagrin of many UMNO members. Those MPs who have been working hard to please the voters feel that they are left out,” quipped an UMNO MP. But the straw that broke the camel’s back was none other than the appointments of Ezam Mohd Nor and Solaimalai Nallakaruppan as senators – the two political opportunists. This has irked many UMNO members. The taxpayers too are questioning the rationale for their appointments as senators. “Are they appointed to serve the nation, UMNO or Najib?” asked an UMNO member. Naturally, the Opposition members are equally peeved about these appointments.

This move, according to critics, is obviously Najib’s ploy to use these two political clowns for his own political survival by making them go for personal attacks on Anwar. Little does Najib realise that he himself has many skeletons in the closet. To most UMNO members the two political misfits appointed as senators have not contributed anything worthwhile for the development of the nation. Another UMNO lawmaker has this say: “This is crazy. What have they done for UMNO or the nation to deserve these appointments? There are many others who deserve more to become senators but are left out. We know…this is for Najib’s survival.”

Another former UMNO Branch leader noted, “This is how Najib’s administration wastes public funds for his personal benefits. These two jokers were scooped by Najib from the mire to help him build his sinking image.”

Anyway, these disgraceful toadies are now with their newfound masters. These were the same people who were “married” to Anwar in politics at one time. It was a happy “marriage” then. They would be seen on stage together giving fiery speeches condemning Mahathir, Najib and UMNO. One of them even claimed that he had “boxes of evidence” against UMNO on corruption. But until today the people have not seen those secret boxes. The other guy was singing praises for Anwar all the way until when he could not contest a state seat in Selangor against a BN candidate and was later advised not to contest a vice president’s post in PKR. He became sullenly aloof and left the party. Can the people then trust these hopping politicians?

Disaffected and traitorous turncoats

They are real ingrates who have lost grassroots support. But these disaffected and traitorous turncoats had no shame to crawl to the very party and leader they used to condemn at one time without shame to become relevant in politics. But to their newfound master, Najib, this is a real chance for him to turn them into lapdogs by exploiting them to the ceiling for his own benefits. Anyway, soon these political scraps will be thrown out after the master has achieved what he wants in politics. But it looks like their mission to attack Anwar is backfiring. Nobody wants to listen to them.

These infamous two lackeys are deliberately being made use of to smear Anwar thinking that the Opposition is all about Anwar. It will be an ineffective trade as the maverick Opposition leader is already immune to this kind of politics. He knows that the Opposition will stay as a strong entity even without him around. Even UMNO members are aware that despite all the smearing tactics purportedly used by Najib with the zealous help of unsellable Utusan Malaysia and unwatchable TV3 the Opposition is getting stronger by the day. In the 2008 general election, the Opposition won 51% of the popular votes and Barisan only 49%. According to political observers, with the present political and economic scenario the Opposition can garner more votes in the 13th general election that what they secured in the last general election.

In one of the recent local university survey only less than 6% of the people believe in all the wild accusations and personal attacks against Anwar. In other words, MSM is doing an unjust duty for political reasons to please their masters – Najib and UMNO. Thus all the political tricks supposedly adopted by Najib have thus far failed and in fact it has readily backfired. The more Anwar is smeared the more the support is for Anwar and this trickles down to the Opposition. As mentioned, the Opposition of today is bigger than Anwar. UMNO is still ignorant of this phenomenon. The people are for the Opposition, with or without Anwar. It is just like those who support UMNO – they are for UMNO, with or without Najib.

A former UMNO leader in Kedah said, “Najib can go and get as many people as he wants to do personal attacks on Anwar. But the Opposition is not all about Anwar. Just like UMNO is not all about Najib. Najib has to accept the fact that the Opposition has grown to become a formidable entity – with or without Anwar. ”

Opposition will remain strong

The people have had enough of “sex recipes” in politics. These recipes are not turning into food on the table. Prices of food is skyrocketing, corruption is on the rise, the rich are becoming richer, the poor among all races are anguished, the elite group have their children educated overseas, education in local public universities is not free, toll has not been abolished, savings are getting a negligible amount of interest and prices of commodities are spiralling. The people hence are not interested in all these irrelevant “sex stories” to bring down Anwar.

The people are keener to have a system that is void of corruption, racial politics and abuse of power. Little do these two minions supported by a few other frustrated sycophants realise that the Opposition is now much bigger than Anwar – with or without Anwar the Opposition will remain as a credible party. They can go on attacking Anwar and this will help the Opposition become stronger.

They were ambitious and their greed for power and positions in the party had made them disappointed. It was this inconsolable disillusionment that made them jump ship. And now they, together with a few other despicable and contemptuous politicians who cast-off friendship, have left their former party to become Najib’s flunkies. This includes a political “loose cannon” who was Anwar’s secret admirer at one time and admitted that she was sleeping with Anwar’s photo under her pillow. Fortunately, Anwar did not take her as his second wife. Ironically, these brownnosers are not questioning all the morally loose characters in UMNO.

By the way, Najib’s or Anwar’s “sexual prowess” – if there is any worth in it – will not determine the people’s economic and family’s future. The people are absolutely sure that Anwar was never a corrupt leader nor was he in any way a principal player in any murder or rape case in the country. The people realise that it is corruption, cronyism and incompetence in governance that will destroy the nation and for these reasons they are seeking justice and a government that is more competent, accountable and transparent – not sex anecdotes to lull the people into a world of fantasy.

The winds of change

As the winds of change gather strength the people are looking for an alternative government. Anwar may have paved the way for a strong Opposition. But today the Opposition can survive even without Anwar around – just like UMNO that is anytime bigger than Najib. Anwar has cohesively cemented the three political parties PKR, PAS and DAP into a strong political body – transforming them into an viable alternative to BN. Any personal attack on Anwar is not going to pull to pieces the Opposition.

Nevertheless, both the Opposition and BN are not perfect. But the people would want to be better served when there is real competition between political parties. They have sought a two-party system and now that this has become a reality in the country, Anwar will soon become secondary to the whole scenario. He can opt to lead the Opposition or just pass the baton of leadership to any of his competent army.

As for Najib it is still nightmarish and distressful. Not only the Opposition are against him but many within UMNO want to see his downfall. The 13th general election is going to be an uphill task for Najib and UMNO.

*This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of  The Kuala Lumpur Post.