Malaysia: GE-14: Why Is Najib Razak Strong Yet Weak ?


April 25, 2018

Malaysia: GE-14: Why Is Najib Razak Strong Yet Weak ?

By Rusman Husain*

* Rusman Husain who is a graduate of Georgetown University, Washington DC is a keen observer  of Malaysian politics. This article is in response to my request for his take on the forthcoming  May 9 GE-14 in Malaysia, which has been described as an epic battle between Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and UMNO President Najib Razak for the mandate to form the next Government in Malaysia. Rusman is more optimistic than I about who will emerge the GE-14 Victor.–Din Merican

Image result for Najib's Waterloo GE-14

Graduates of the UMNO School of Politics, Anwar Ibrahim and Najib Razak with their Political Master Yoda, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad–A Twist of Fate for Malaysia

Like it or not, the 14th general election is the Waterloo of Najib—–with no escape. The furor that he and his inner circle have caused—-due to years of global gargantuan corruption—-will circle in to close down all his options across the board. In this sense, a post Najib era has begun, and a new Mahathirist and Anwar rapproachment has started in earnest.–Rusman Husain

Najib Razak has been at the helm of Malaysia since April 2009. What is exceptional about his arrival as the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia is not much that he could climb the splippery pole of UMNO politics. Rather he didn’t do much at all to get to the top.

When his father passed away in 1976, Najib, who was studying in University of Nottingham in England, returned to Pekan, Pahang, to assume the parliamentary position of Tun Abdul Razak. The latter had been a household name in Malaysian politics due to the extent to which he helped the Malays, often by parceling lands to local farmers.

When Anwar Ibrahim, the president of UMNO Youth stepped to the fore to be the deputy president of UMNO, effectively allowing Anwar to first serve as the Deputy Prime Minister, Najib filled the lacunae left by Anwar in UMNO Youth. Invariably, when Abdullah Badawi resigned as the  Prime Minister of Malaysia in 2009, after experiencing a heavy electoral loss in 2008, Najib stepped up to the plate. The whole process of shoving and pushing Abdullah down was triggered by Muhyiddin Yassin, who is now one of the opposition stalwarts who have joined forces with Mahathir and Anwar to thwart Najib from winning another five year term on May 9 2018. Even still – as Prime Minister he waited until the very last minute, twice, to call an election, rather than aggressively going to the polls when he probably had a greater advantage.

Image result for Najib and the Mongolian Model

Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa (Mongolian language: Шаарийбуугийн Алтантуяа; sometimes also Altantuya Shaariibuu; 1978 – 2006), a Mongolian national, was a murder victim who was either murdered by C-4 explosives or was somehow killed first and her remains destroyed with C-4 in October 2006 in a deserted area in Shah Alam, Malaysia near Kuala Lumpur. READ ON: http://bloggiler4u.blogspot.com/2008/07/shaariibuugiin-altantuyaa.html

Thus, in a political career spanning more than 40 years, Najib has had the good fortune of filling up key positions that had otherwise been made vacant by the passing and resignation of his political superiors. More incredibly, Najib was able to survive all charges of criminal complicity in the death of a Mongolian model, whose body was detonated into smithereens with C4 explosives.

A long political career shaped by fortuitous circumstances and survival, indeed back room maneuvers, is not one to be chafed at. Najib commands the human networks, and financial resources, to make his lieutenants stay true to him. But Najib is weakened by four factors that many analysts tend to forget.

One, Najib did not want the position by design. It landed on him by default. Such a leader is often long on “tricks,” no doubt picked up from a long career, but short on grits. The absence of the latter makes his followers vulnerable to the slightest public pressures. When push comes to shove, Najib lacks the stamina, and staying power, to withstand the human tide of opposition. By this token, one cannot rule out a police crack down too, even as Malaysia is waltzing towards the 14th general election.

Two, Najib has reached the peak through a constant process of ingratiation and careful calibration. Every speech act is articulated to gain a micro advantage. It is as simple as that. Yet, the absence of any courage, indeed, the aversion to any risks, will paradoxically convince his cabinet ministers that Najib will not be able to protect them at all. Thus, one will see more and more ministers defecting to the coalition of Anwar and Mahathir, if not openly, then secretly. What will begin as a trickle can potentially become a torrent (of betrayals).

Three,Najib has never felt the need to triangulate the inflow of his information. For the lack of better word, Najib has never learned how to trust and verify the incoming polls. It would not be surprised to see a Najib confident of winning 2/3 of the parliament of 222 seats, only to realize at the very last forty eights hours of the general election on May 9, that he has to negotiate a post election exit. Thus, May 7 and 8, will prove two of the most important dates in the four decade careers of Najib. Any miscalculation will lead to the fall of his proverbial house of cards.

Finally, with the absence of triangulation, comes a bubble effect. Najib is likely to believe that he can carry the full electoral mandate, which in turn affects his strategic calculation on May 7 and 8, leading to his willingness to risk it all by May 9. Such a bubble effect is likely to be all consuming and enveloping, preventing his wife, indeed, his inner circle to advise him to sue for peace, both before and after the parliamentary results that are likely to see a watershed defeat of Najib.

Like it or not, the 14th general election is the Waterloo of Najib—–with no escape. The furor that he and his inner circle have caused—-due to years of global gargantuan corruption—-will circle in to close down all his options across the board. In this sense, a post Najib era has begun, and a new Mahathirist and Anwar rapproachment has started in earnest.

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