Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Ugly Feud with Dr. Mahathir Mohamad reflects the shallowness of Malaysian politics


July 19, 2017

Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Ugly Feud with Dr. Mahathir Mohamad reflects  the shallowness of Malaysian Politics

Possibility of snap election looms as ex-leader backs a jailed former foe

by Takashi Nakano, Nikkei staff writer

http://asia.nikkei.com

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (Photo by AP), left, and former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad are sniping over the state of the country’s leadership.

SINGAPORE — An ugly feud is intensifying between Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak and predecessor Mahathir Mohamad, with Mahathir throwing his support behind an old nemesis in hopes of unseating the administration, and Najib sniping back.

Mahathir ruled Malaysia for 22 years through 2003, and the country’s profile on the world stage grew under his hard-charging leadership. He has vocally criticized Najib, who has been in power for over eight years — and is in sight of a yet longer term — but has recently come under fire amid an embezzlement scandal. Rumors have swirled that Najib may dissolve parliament this year, leading to a general election.

The two figures’ mudslinging, if it drags on, may diminish Malaysian politics in the eyes of observers at home and abroad.

The enemy of my enemy

In 1998, Mahathir sacked Anwar Ibrahim, then Deputy Prime Minister, who stood in opposition to him. Anwar was then arrested and imprisoned for six years on charges of sodomy and corruption. In Malaysia’s last general elections in May 2013, Anwar led an opposition coalition against Najib’s ruling one, but in 2015 was convicted of fresh sodomy charges and given another five years behind bars.

Anwar Ibrahim © Reuters

Early this month, Mahathir told The Guardian, the U.K. newspaper, that the popular Anwar had been “unfairly treated.” “The decision of the court was obviously influenced by the government,” he said, “and I think the incoming government would be able to persuade the King to give a full pardon for Anwar.” The statement sent shock waves across the country.

Since the time of Anwar’s first arrest, the independence of the Malaysian Judiciary has been in doubt. Mahathir’s championing of Anwar even at risk of drawing fire for his own past actions shows the intensity of his drive to topple the Najib administration.

In June, at the International Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo, Mahathir also said that Malaysia’s present administration was doing badly by the country, and that he hoped for the opposition to score an electoral victory and drive Najib out of office.

Najib quickly fired back via his blog. He said it was “ironic that Mahathir now needs Anwar, the man he sacked and jailed,” and that the former prime minister’s “crusade is motivated not by the national interest, but by selfish personal interest.”

No winners

Najib, having built up a stable political base, appears to have the upper hand in this fight. Mahathir cannot hide the shrinking of his political clout. And while Anwar’s popularity may run deep, he cannot run for office from prison. With the term of the lower house of Malaysia’s Parliament set to expire next June, Najib is waiting for the moment to play his trump card: the right to dissolve the legislative body.

But the Najib government has a major Achilles’ heel in the scandal surrounding state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd, or 1MDB. U.S. authorities are investigating the apparent misappropriation of at least $4.5 billion from the fund, and several people close to the Prime Minister have been implicated.

Najib’s administration has objected, noting that Malaysian authorities conducted extensive inspections and no crime came to light. But overseas authorities have turned a stern eye. The Monetary Authority of Singapore, for instance, has taken steps to punish a number of financial institutions and people whose actions contributed to the 1MDB scandal.

The ties between Mahathir, Najib and Anwar not only show the fierceness of Malaysia’s power struggle, but expose the shallowness of its political benches. Since it won independence in 1957, the country has not undergone a significant change of government, and it has not cultivated a culture in which the politicians that will bear responsibility for the next generation sharpen one another in friendly rivalry.

With its per-capita gross domestic product having reached the $10,000 level, Malaysia is at a crossroads and in need of a new growth model. Its ruling and opposition parties are constantly bickering instead of engaging in more robust economic debate, casting doubt on the nation’s hopes of joining the ranks of the world’s developed countries.

6 thoughts on “Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Ugly Feud with Dr. Mahathir Mohamad reflects the shallowness of Malaysian politics

  1. Its the Leaders’ own selfish self- Interest that have made Malaysian politics UGLY …. GO , FLY KITES …….

  2. Not so fast my friend. We must always try to make thing better even if they are very good. As in golf only forward movement counts even if you gave one stroke up in the previous hole.

  3. This second look (over Ugliness ) in a topic by the Poet Kahlil Gibran on the topic of ‘Authority ‘ :

    ” Selfishness , my brother , is the cause of blind superiority , and superiority creates clanship , and clanship creates authority which leads to discord and subjugation .

    The soul believes in power of knowledge and justice over dark ignorance ; it denies the authority that supplies the swords to defend and strengthen ignorance and oppression – that authority which destroyed Babylon and shook the foundation of Jerusalem and left Rome in ruins. It is that which made people call criminals great men; made writers respect their names ; made historians relate the stories of their inhumanity in manner of praise …. “

  4. Jerusalem percolating again, what is the Motive of the Zionist Nethanyahu , of causing such grave provocation ? Things have settled for centuries and Jews, Christians & Muslims living side by side , living in harmony ……AND ( in the religious faith of Muhammad SAW ) have accepted ALL the previous Prophets , back to Moses ( prophet of the Jews ) and Jesus Christ ( prophet of Christians ) …..THESE ARE GREAT RELIGIONS….. NB. The Zionist’s crude & grave actions , are only ‘ disproving ‘ their own religion by their childish (mis ) behaviour in their pursuit of Land-grab ‘insanity ‘ …… ? –

    Nothing better to do ? ? ? – GO, FLY KITES ……

  5. The true Torah Jews around the globe are a very good people …..they have protested vehemently against their own ” Zionist regime ” in carrying out their expansionist programs , so-called expansionism is legitimate Jewish struggle for being the ‘ chosen race ” – so they claim . They have distorted the Holy book of Torah ….. ( although i do not claim to be too well acquainted with the deeper aspects of Judaism ) –

    But think again , you Zionists …..

  6. Phew ! what have I digressed to ? What is that to do with the Ugly politics of Malaysia ? may be ‘ power of knowledge and justice over dark ignorance ‘ similitude , Zionists always claim of their Supremacy , to justify their illegal conduct of Inhumanity…..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s