Fiasco Looms for Malaysia’s Ruling Coalition

February 26, 2014

Fiasco Looms for Malaysia’s Ruling Coalition

Post-election public support drops steeply amid growing calls for PM Najib to take action

One of Malaysia’s most respected polling organizations is expected to release figuresRosmah and Najib over the next few days showing that support for the ruling Barisan Nasional from all three of the country’s major ethnic groups is dropping steeply, to the point where if an election were held today,  the national coalition would be buried in a landslide.

The loss of support is not just from ethnic Indians, whose approval figures for the Barisan have dropped from 45 percent to 30 percent, or the ethnic Chinese, only 8 percent of whom support the coalition, but from ethnic Malays, the mainstay of the coalition.  Support has dropped from 61 percent to 50 percent, according to sources who have seen the figures. In Penang, the poll reportedly shows that the Barisan wouldn’t win a single one of the 40 state seats and 11 parliamentary ones.

That has led to deepening concern over the performance of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, with growing calls for him to either step down in favor of another UMNO figure or to take dramatic steps to revitalize his leadership.  Even the mainstream press, all of it owned by Malaysian political parties, is becoming increasingly emboldened to criticize his performance.

Reportedly, according to political sources in Kuala Lumpur, he is increasingly being ignored within his own coalition, most recently by Sarawak strongman Abdul Taib Mahmud, who is stepping down as chief minister. Taib named his former brother-in-law, Adenan Satim, as his own replacement despite a promise during a meeting in London that he would heed Najib’s wishes in naming the new chief minister.

With both national and intraparty elections out of the way last year, Najib gambled that he could drastically cut subsidies for sugar, petrol and rice in a bid to put the country’s fiscal condition back into shape, with the fiscal debt running close to the maximum permissible limit of 55 percent.  But with the cost of living soaring upwards, he faces growing outrage.  He has since been forced to back away from a sharp rise in highway tolls.  And, while anecdotal evidence in the markets indicates that prices are climbing inexorably upwards, critics say the controlled press is continuing to report that there is no cost of living problem.

One of the issues that won’t go away is a government decision to ban use of the word Allah to mean God in Malay-language Bibles, which has infuriated Christians and moderates, who point out that throughout the Arab world, Christians use the word as a proper noun.  Najib has come under fire for making moderate statements when he is out of the country, but refusing to take a stand on the issue, or to rein in vocal Malay supremacy organizations such as Perkasa, headed by Ibrahim Ali, whose intemperate racial statements have increasingly poisoned the political atmosphere.

Within UMNO, Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, has become a lightning rod for those who see her as flaunting excess wealth including designer handbags, watches and jewelry at a time when the country is facing cost of living problems.  Many blame her for decisions that the Prime Minister is – or is not – making.

Najib is said to be shaking up his staff, replacing his long-time chief of staff with a younger, more dynamic individual. Reportedly he is also expected to call a party retreat to seek to convince party division chiefs and others within the United Malays National Organization that he has a plan to revitalize the political situation.  Party leaders complain that 10 months after the narrow parliamentary victory – and popular vote loss – that left the Barisan in charge, Najib has still not called for a post-mortem of the way the race was run.

With US President Barack Obama scheduled to visit the country on a state visit in April,  it is imperative to get moving, say political analysts in Kuala Lumpur.  Behind Najib is the ever-present specter of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has taken no public position against Najib but who clearly has unleashed bloggers who are hounding the prime minister on all sides. Sources within the Mahathir wing of UMNO told Asia Sentinel that Mahathir is after Najib’s head.

the-man-behind-perkasa1It had been thought that, having emasculated Najib’s economic plans after the election, the Mahathir wing would be content to leave the weakened prime minister in his place until the next election.  The two most viable candidates to replace him would be Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who has reportedly said he is too old and tired for the job, and Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is regarded even by many UMNO figures as too mercurial and polarizing for the job.

However, A. Kadir Jasin, former chief editor of the New Straits Times and a close confidant of the 88-year-old former premier, in his blog,”The Scribe,” on Saturday suggested that Muhyiddin might not be so tired, or that a third candidate, Hishamuddin Hussein, Najib’s cousin and the party’s third-ranking vice-president, might be a possible alternative.

Thus, despite denials on all sides, the political picture is beginning to resemble that in 2008 and 2009, when growing forces coalesced to drive Najib’s predecessor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, from the premiership. The growing drip of blog comments is an indication that Najib must take action or face a serious revolt.


18 thoughts on “Fiasco Looms for Malaysia’s Ruling Coalition

  1. I am neither happy nor sad…. I am happy to see Najib replaced but the possible replacements like Muhyiddin, Zahid and Hishammuddin are really not any much better. Why not dissolve the cabinet and parliament and let’s all do a GE14? Once and for all?

  2. “…a close confidant of the 88-year-old former premier, in his blog,”The Scribe,” on Saturday suggested that Muhyiddin might not be so tired, or that a third candidate, Hishamuddin Hussein, Najib’s cousin …”
    And they have the cheek to accuse PR of being dynasty driven ?

    Prepare yourselves, folks, for another pitiful “Najib kena sai (Psy-ed)” self promotion fiasco as another attempt to alleviate the Rakyat’s erection blues.

    The religious and racial strife has been blown out of proportions. If only Malaysians can see through the smoke screen of the devious ploy being used by the inept government to keep the Rakyat in control – an invisible stick sans the carrot wielded by the evil conjurer to invoke the ghosts of May 13 now and again to keep the flock of sheep so bogged down and terrorized that they become distracted of their hunger and hardship!

    Hate to say I told you so as I had predicted years ago, when Najib was still mooting over the GST idea and the removal of subsidies, that the outcome will be the final nails to hit the ruling coalition’s coffin.

    Najib has taken a calculated risk that the imposition of his plan after GE 13 will buy him enough time to sweeten away the bitter after taste of his foul prescription by the next GE 14.
    He did not anticipate the Kajang by election. The current situation is ripe to sway the votes over to Anwar’s favour. The voters in Kajang know the hardships they are now experiencing, GST and rising price hikes of basic commodities, will be unnecessary if the government had not mismanaged the economy, wasted precious state funds through unnecessary and unaccounted spending, corruption and siphoning of billions of ill gotten money out of Malaysia.

  3. Have no fear, more BRIM will save BN. Malaysian forgets with money in their pockets. Malaysian has short memory. Money will save the day, especially those from sabah and Sarawak. That’s how they are known as BN fix deposit.

  4. “You can fool some of the people some of the time.
    But you can’t fool all of the people all of the time”.

    Applies to the 1PM as well as the ex-PM.
    Especially in the Internet Age.

  5. You have to prove the prediction true and go on to thoroughly humiliate BN, UMNO and Najib.

    Let the State Government resign and call for fresh election but before that you have to ensure that UMNO and Najib do not play dirty by imposing central rule in Penang indefinitely and spoil the party for everybody.

  6. Hishamuddin? No way. It has to be Zahid Hamidi or Mukrhiz and no one else. Problem is Mahathir can’t trust Zahid, so it has to be Zahid-Mukhriz and with the DPM position taking big portfolio, maybe even Finance itself while the tough one like Education goes to Zahid. Its the only way it can possible work AND its bad news for many..

  7. Dictionary of Sociology (entries for E to F)

    Economic system: “The social institution through which goods and services are produced, distributed, and consumed.”
    Economic systems in many Third World countries are typically capitalist ones thoroughly riddled with corruption and rent-seeking activities. Unemployment, underemployment and crime are rife in their “urban jungle” cities. The money from resources (in resource rich countries such as Nigeria and Malaise-sia) are typical wasted through corruption, “misappropriation”, bombastic “world class” new cities and towering showcase buildings.

    Education: “A formal process of learning in which some people consciously teach while others adopt the social role of learner”.
    In Malaise-sia, the educational system is another victim of misgovernance and politicisation, with students performing poorly on international tests of maths and science knowledge and ability, and with public institutions of higher education ranking lowly in international comparisons

    Elite model: “A view of society as ruled by a small group of individuals who share a common set of political and economic interests”.
    Perfectly describes the multi-ethnic kleptocracy currently (mis)ruling Malaysia. Political interest = hang on to power. Economic interest = enrich oneself
    and one’s cronies through the use of state power

    Environmental justice: “A legal strategy based on claims that racial minorities are subjected disproportionately to environmental hazards”.
    In Malaise-sia, replace the word “racial minorities” with “hapless ordinary citizens” e.g. the citizens of Kuantan, southern Johor, Raub

    Ethnic group: “A group that is set apart from others because of its national origin or distinctive cultural patterns”. In Malaise-sia, ethnic classification allows opportunistic Chinese and Indians to loudly claim they are Malays and berate their own kind

    Ethnocentrism: “The tendency to assume that one’s culture and way of life represent the norm or are superior to all others”.
    A major social sickness in Malaise-sia. A very worrisome tendency when it is coupled with intolerance and lack of respect for the culture and values of others.

    Exploitation theory: “A Marxist theory that views racial subordination in a country as a manifestation of the class system inherent in capitalism”.
    A major view of the PSM (Parti Sosialis Malaysia)

    Extended family: “A family in which relatives-such as grandparents, aunts, or uncles-live in the same home as parents and their children”.
    According to Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysians are members of one big
    extended family viz. “Wo men ser ee chia ren”

    False consciousness: “A term used by Karl Marx to describe an attitude held by members of a class that does not accurately reflect its objective position”.
    For example, poor Malays who believe in the ideology of Ketuanan Melayu
    or poor Indians who support UMNO Baru-BN

    Force: “The actual or threatened use of coercion to impose one’s will on others”.
    Political dinosaurs continually resort to threats of using force (even if the Internet Age will make such abuse known worldwide very quickly)

    Formal social control: “Social control carried out by authorized agents, such as police officers, judges, school administrators, and employers”.
    In Malaise-sia, ruling elites habitually misuse and abuse organisations of formal social control such as the courts and police to maintain their increasingly precarious hold on power.

  8. They have no more suitable Candidates of maturity left, to continue with their onslaught, ONLY small boys who have excelled with playing marbles or the kites left to govern the nation.
    So not to worry too much, just tell them ‘ go fly kites……’

  9. Siang,
    That would be extremely fun. More doles to be collected.

    Likelihood is that Madhater will be senior minister till Mukriz becomes PM.

  10. Support for BN may be dropping but I think it’s the same for the opposition. PR needs to get their act together or they will self-destruct.

  11. Public support for the ruling regime in Malaysia?? Since when has public support gotta do with anything in Malaysia. They rule because they can.

  12. Kajang has 40,000 voters Anwar will be able to convince a sizable portion of the electorate and win IF the EC remains neutral. would there be blackouts, missing or too many boxes of votes and would the indelible ink become edible and delible suddenly?!

    ”Madhater will be senior minister till Mukriz becomes PM”. – looes74
    you mean they will stuff him and keep him as senior minister until then?
    like what that Psycho fellow did to his mamma?

  13. Bankruptcy looms for Malaysia.
    A much more serious problem for EVERYONE,
    including our not-so-intelligent
    neo-fascists of UMNO Baru.

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