A New Prime Minister before GE-13?

January 7, 2013

A New Prime Minister before GE-13?

by  Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

Najib frowningIt looks like Malaysia will be getting a new Prime Minister even before the general election, widely expected in June, is held. Embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak may soon step down soon in favour of his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin citing health reasons, but ultimately, the 59-year-old Najib would be the latest casualty of their UMNO party’s infighting and fear of losing the Federal government to Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and the latter’s Pakatan Rakyat coalition.

Over the weekend, rumors were rife that Najib would dissolve Parliament on January 26 in a bid to stymie a purported maneuver by Muhyddin and former Premier Mahathir Mohamad to oust him as UMNO President and Prime Minister of the country before the 13th GE is held.

Such talk was soon overtaken by even hotter speculation that Najib had fallen ill. According to Sarawak Report, doctors have been on standby all weekend. There is little doubt the strain on Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor have been tremendous especially over the past few weeks when they were both the targets of a string of shocking corruption expose’s by controversial businessman Deepak Jaikishan.

The first couple’s deafening silence to the scorching allegations as well as Najib’s very notable ‘absence’ from the public limelight over the past fortnight had stirred suspicion something was up. Some even speculated that Najib may have gone overseas for treatment.

“All we can say is that the BN administration must immediately clarify the actual situation. We all know something is not right when the PM doesn’t seem to be around. There is no statement issued as to his whereabouts and there are no rebuttals to the very serious claims made by Deepak,” PKR MP for Batu Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

Banking on sympathy votes from a confused Malay electorate

Najib took over as UMNO President and the country’s 6th Prime Minister in April 2009Mahathir after helping Mahathir and Muhyiddin to oust Abdullah Badawi who was blamed for the UMNO-BN’s weak performance in the 2008 elections. Now, and rather ironically, Najib may find himself toppled in much the same dismissive way that he had helped to pack Badawi off into the political wilderness.

It has been an open secret that UMNO ‘warlords’ have been tussling for seats to contest at GE13, and Najib had used his prerogative as the decision-maker of the last resort to maintain the upperhand. And despite the myriad ‘spin’ by media advisers from both sides, it is well known that Najib and Rosmah wanted to call for polls only after the UMNO-BN’s full 5-year term was up, while Muhyiddin and Mahathir have pushed for elections to be held as early as last year.

When Muhyddin told the press at the turn of the new year it was better for the GE13 date to remain a ‘mystery’, it further bolstered the ‘conspiracy theory’ circulating around town that Najib would be bundled out soon. Muhyiddin would then take over and allow Parliament to expire undissolved, with the pro-BN Election Commission calling for nationwide polls only in June so as to allow the ‘wounds’ in UMNO time to heal and the country – especially the predominant Malay electorate – to get used to the new PM at the helm.

“They are banking on Muhyiddin’s pro-Malay image to shore up UMNO-BN’s hold on power as well as the Malays’ fear of the unknown and sympathy for Najib’s illness – if indeed he is ill – to help them,” said Tian.

“We are now in uncharted zone because we don’t know what tricks UMNO-BN will pull to cling to power. Everything will depend on what announcements will be made in the next few days. We will get a clearer picture then.”

Ambitious Muhyiddin & ‘kamikaze’ Dr M

 In mid-December, political sources had told Malaysia Chronicle that UMNO divisions inDPM latest three states – Johor, Terengganu and Perak – had begun the ball rolling to get Najib to step down, citing his growing liability to the BN coalition because of his corruption scandals expecially in connection to the Scorpene submarines and the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder.

The tell-tale signs that infighting had reached a head came when rumors of racial riots were spread by several pro-UMNO bloggers. Coming eerily hot on the heels of warnings issued by UMNO-linked leaders such as Ibrahim Ali and Shahrizat Jalil, the rumors fueled fear of a reprisal of the May 13, 1969 racial riots that left thousands injured and hundreds dead.

Creating public fear by using threats of racial riots to quell citizens and stop them from raising questions is a ‘hallmark’ tactic of  UMNO leaders to mask internal maneuverings. The May 13 riots have been exposed as an UMNO conspiracy to oust its then president Tunku Abdul Rahman. It was a power tussle that catapulted Najib’s dad Abdual Razak Hussein and Mahathir Mohamad into power.

As such, when the latest spate of May 13 rumours were set off recently, seasoned political watchers braced for another ‘mutiny’ in the topmost ranks of the UMNO leadership.

Allowing Najib to make a ‘graceful’ exit

UMNO watchers believe that Mahathir Mohamad, the main ‘puppet master’ in UMNO, has decided to throw his weight behind Muhyiddin and effect an 11th-hour change in leadership although many have cautioned that such a move may boomerang and create even greater infighting in UMNO.

Hence, the ‘minor stroke’ rumours to allow Najib to step down ‘gracefully’ on health reasons. Whether or not, Najib was really ill did not matter. As far as his rivals in UMNO are concerned, poor health is merely the vehicle for Najib to ‘surrender’ his power.

“Mahathir is a kamikaze fighter. He doesn’t need emergency laws or any law if he wants to do something. Look at how he dissolved the old UMNO and re-created UMNO Baru, look at how he threw Anwar Ibrahim into jail, declared all-out war on Abdullah Badawi,” a veteran political observer had told Malaysia Chronicle last month.

“But the option of delaying GE13 and imposing martial law is out. The UMNO warlords know if they do that, they will really end up with nothing but jail and infamy. It is better to take a chance at the ballot boxes. After all, they have already done so much gerrymandering and they have so much wealth overseas, they might as well try their luck in the courts if the new regime prosecutes them for plundering.”

“There’s no doubt Mahathir is trying to change the PM to boost the morale in UMNO before going straight into GE13. He has always been the biggest gambler of them all. He is willing to put all his chips on winning big with Muhyiddin’s pro-Malay image. To do that, they will stir up Malay sentiments. So far, there has only been rhetoric. Now we are hearing talk of racial clashes. It is therefore possible that what happens next will be actual incidents. The grapevine goes that they may stir up small incidents here and there to rally the Malays together and they could do this with the help of UMNO hot-heads and the Chinese and Indian underworld.”

26 thoughts on “A New Prime Minister before GE-13?

  1. I saw the Prime Minister at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club last Sunday. He was in good shape, getting ready to play golf with his siblings and a friend. We chatted briefly. He did not show any signs of strain. It is, therefore, pure speculation that he suffered a mild stroke over the weekend. –Din Merican

  2. How to throw a Spanner to jam up the Works of Jibby resigning?…play a Wild Card.
    PK should consider dissolving for re-election one or two of the States that they control to trigger furthur infighting!!!

    Hidup Malaysia!

  3. Who says Jibs is resigning?
    Er.., i advised him not to. Otherwise the carbon allotropes on his beloved’s fingers turn into soot. Then, there are the other parts of his past that might do him in. Better to wait for Octo to ride into the sunset.. He’s in the Pink of health, and as far as most can tell – in charge of his limited faculties. Speculation and rumors tend to be self mutilating, and the writer of this piece is starting to sound very much like her nemesis, RPK. There’s a little smoke, but plenty of hot air.

  4. Mahathir knew quite a while back that Najib should be replaced. But the decision to replace is not easy one as the alternative of Muhiyiddin is even worse. Replacing the PM twice in a term – that would be criticised even by his own party..

    Muhiyiddin at the helm this late can only mean massive cheating on the same scale as Marcos, Mugabe and Mubarak.. Muhiyiddin’s track record suggests he can’t even pull off a facade that Najib does. Truth is the only replacing Najib that make sense is with Anwar – but Mahathir is too stubborn to make the deal which will cost him and his friends almost everything personally.

    What surprise me is that Najib has attempted a deal with Anwar to save himself – he may be too closely watched to do it but it’s the only radical move that make sense for him…
    Something like what you suggest is brewing. My contacts in Melbourne tell me– and I have no means to verify this independently– a deal is being hatched between Anwar and Rosie involving big bucks.Politics is the art of the possible.–Din Merican

  5. Che Mah Chot already brokered a deal with the Rotiman Che Det. They will now serve roti from Rotiman’s bakery to all BR1M and all Rosie’s project. Lu tolong waa waa tolong lu. So Bijan is safe from further attacks by Che Det.

  6. Anything is possible in politics.Nothing should surprise us.

    In desperate need of political survival, will we see a Malaysian Boris Yeltsin ?
    Boris Yeltsin? I think we need a Gorbachev combined with a Putin.–Din Merican

  7. Mydin is a poor deputy, he has no finesse when dealing with racial and other sensitive matters that will affect the nation. To have him at the helm is disaster for the non Malays. Even UMNO will not do it, least of all the Kutty although mydin is a kutty himself.

    I have no reason to disbelieve Dato’s meeting Najib at the course. It is for this reason that the alternative media have facts, checked for its accuracy before publication. Najib’s days are numbered due for termination at the GE13.

  8. The nation need a strong leader who will unify the different communities. to ensure the ‘pendatangs’ that they have equal rights and opportunities. divisive and communal politics and policies should start to end with GE13.

    I graduated and decided to tough out NEP and its subsequent extension. I did not do too badly but resented the way rakyat’s money are wasted. I do not think I will allow my children to hang around a sinking ship any longer as i view opportunities have greatly been diminishing over the years.

  9. I graduated and decided to tough out NEP and its subsequent extension. I did not do too badly but resented the way rakyat’s money are wasted. I do not think I will allow my children to hang around a sinking ship any longer as i view opportunities have greatly been diminishing over the years.- robertcslim

    SO WHAT? You think what you did will change the political landscape of Malaysia? Go whingeing somewhere else alone.

  10. “Mahathir is a kamikaze fighter. He doesn’t need emergency laws or any law if he wants to do something. Look at how he dissolved the old UMNO and re-created UMNO Baru, look at how he threw Anwar Ibrahim into jail, declared all-out war on Abdullah Badawi”

    A “kamikaze fighter” is supposed to die. The Old Goat is alive and kicking. His rise has nothing to do with the Japanese spirit of Bushido. More like “if there is one for me in the bush I do”

  11. “Actually there is no one I can think of from UMNO that is fit to be a PM of Malaysia. Try thinking!”

    If there is someone by the name of ‘thinking’ in UMNO, maybe this person has the potential … 20 years down the road.

    At the moment, you should know enough that no one from UMNO thinks … at least with the real head. They just go where there is a smell of money, just like how leeches and worms gravitate to sound. Also the only head they ever use … for the male UMNO … is the other ‘head’. Ask Najib, he used the wrong head and got into a C4 deep shit.

  12. Please no muhyiddin. Better a court jester than him.
    Why not? Let the party and its members decide and if he is then elected by voters he will be the Prime Minister with a mandate.–Din Merican

  13. I agree with Didi. The “I am Malay first and Malaysian second” as the leader of a nation that aspires to be among civilized nations in the world will be a disaster to the very ideals of a progressive and inclusive society.

    See what happened when the party gave power to the man who shared the same values for 21 years to ruin the social fabric of the country and who is now backing the pretender for the highest office in the land.

    He will be worse than Najib, Badawi and Mahathir put together.

    Two years ago I said in this blog he will back stab Najib with support of Mahathir and Ibrahim Ali and the Perkasa mob. Two years down the track, I am still right.

    Two years ago I did say Mahathir will destabilize Najib after he conspired to remove Badawi because he knows Najib is weak. He needed made Najib to strengthen his son Mukhriz’s political career, and he got that. Now he needed Muhyiddin to make his son the next Deputy Prime Minister before he meets up with the 72 Virgins.

    When Badawi made Muhyiddin to be Agriculture Minister to revitalize our agricultural economy and to come out with an agricultural policy, he did NOTHING, instead he gave almost free tax payers money to his fellow UMNO Minister, Shahrizat’s family some RM 250 MILLION to play around for cattle development, instead was used to enrich the family with condos and restaurants.

    Muhyiddin is directly responsible and accountable for the NFC scandal… Yet Najib does not have the balls to hold his # 2 accountable of Najib’s fear of Mahathir and PERKASA. And for his leadership weakness, Najib is paying a price.

    The Mahathir-Muhyiddin-PERKASA axis will DEFINITELY remove Najib out as PM before the next election.

    For Mahathir, if Najib leads UMNO-BN to victory or if UMNO-BN loses to Pakatan in the coming GE, it is a LOSE-LOSE situation… Because that means time has run out for him to position his son Mukhriz in the higher echelon of UMNO to be the next DPM and PM.

    Mahathir will pull all stops to make sure Muhyiddin leads UMNO-BN into the next GE and not wait AFTER the election to take Najib out of the UMNO presidency, win or lose.

    For Malaysia and Malaysians, Muhyiddin as PM will a disaster, and he will adopt Mahathirism divisive politics and will pull the country back by
    30 years and will make the racist PERKASA a major player in national policy making.

    It is the worst scenario that will happen if Muhyiddin is made Prime Minister. He has not got any good track record, allegations of massive corruption when he was MB of Johore ( re the Stamford land scandal) and the NFC scandal as Agriculture Minister and the confusion and mess
    in our national education system as the current Education Minister.To make matters worse, he dabbles in PERKASA’s racial politics and as DPM, he is constantly sniping and back-talking at the sitting Prime Minister ‘s announced policies.

  14. However, having Muhyiddin to lead UMNO-BN into the next GE will be godsend for Anwar and Pakatan because Muhyiddin’s baggage is worse for voters, especially to NON Malay voters and liberal voters. His “I am Malay first and Malaysian second” quote will be part of the angpow wrapped by PAkatan for nonMalay voters before they enter the ballot box. Voters will be reminded that his backer is the much despite former PM of 21 years, and one who instigates the removal of the first Prime Minister of Malaysia.

    I believe Pakatan leaders are hoping Mahathir’s wish is fulfilled. Removal of Najib BEFORE the GE means PR is virtually handed the key to Putrajaya. The road to Putrajaya with Najib as PM still is a lot harder but not impossible.

  15. Prior to 2008, UMNO warlords held the view that UMNO politics will decide the fate of the nation ie no matter who they decide, the rest of the country will play ball. They were right then… But no more.

    Today, Opposition politics has gone mainstream. Now the choice of who will be President of UMNO will determine whether BN will win the next election..

    That is the greatness of a TWO party system hopefully will take hold in Malaysia.

    It is not that we like PR, it is that we need to strengthen PR for the bigger good of a TWO party system. That means, PR should be given more than a fighting chance to win govt in the coming general election.

    We will never know how good or bad unless we give them a chance to govern and we will have their report after 5 years whether to retain them or kick them out.

    Malaysians gave UMNO-BN 54 years… I think that long enough.

    A breath of fresh air is badly needed for the country right now, even if it is only for the next 5 years.m

  16. I agree with Frank’s assessment of the DPM. His flip flopping of the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English is one area where he has shown a very strong weakness of doing the right thing for the country but more to appease the rural political landscape in his party.

    His silence in the NFC scandal was “deafening” and it was stupid of the PM to take all the body blows of the MYR250 million beatings from the people and the opposition when it was directly approved by the Minister of Agriculture ie the “I am Malay first” DPM.

    The latest expose by DAP’s team of Tony Pua and Dr Ong Kian Ming today that the 28.8% of PMR students scoring A’s is a fraud by the Ministry of Education as the international benchmark was compromised. The actual score should be “only 1% of PMR students scored an A” This is scandalous and this is another proof that this man will not do the right thing because what is important to him is not ethics and righteousness but self popularity and scoring political brownie points with the Malay electorate.

    Last but not least, one should NEVER have a Brutus as your second man. Once a Brutus, always a Brutus. It is not that I love Caesar less, it is that I love Rome more! Oh yes, Mooyiddin, apa bezanya Pak Lah dengan Najib, serupa aja, tikam aja kat belakang, tak nampak pun muka diaorang kan… takde emosi pun…

    Having Mooyiddin at the helm is like having Mahathir… no way… and then disambung lagi dengan Mukhriz?

  17. Frank

    “SO WHAT? You think what you did will change the political landscape of Malaysia? Go whingeing somewhere else alone.”

    Hope springs eternal. There is no other place called home to me. And I don’t whinge! I take the opportunity to try to effect change my way which so far seems to be okay in terms of opportunities and economics.

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