Monday, December 3, 2012

Najib Better Than Badawi?

It is true, Malaysians tend to forget easily.

They say former premier Abdullah Badawi was the one who was responsible for Umno and Barisan losing their two-third parliamentary majority.

But they easily forget that it was Badawi himself who was the one who had won the largest ever mandate from Malaysians when he took over from Mahathir.

Mahathir had been very reluctant to give up the premiership which he had held for 23 years. He only did so when it became untenable for him to continue as the Pm.

Abdullah Badawi's massive landslide victory in the 2004 general election (GE) was a resounding testament to Mahathir's tattered image and it hang like an intolerable insult to the old man's ego.

Abdullah 'lost' the 2008 GE not because Mahathir had been missed, but because he (Abdullah) had failed to follow up on his promise for much needed reforms to the excesses of the Mahathir administration.

But I guess Umno had become so dysfunctional and corrupt for Badawi to have to done much without jeopardising his own position in the party.

That was a pity, because Abdullah Badawi could have had used the massive mandate from the rakyat to do what he should have had done. For his failure to do so, Abdullah had to pay the ultimate price when he was effectually hounded out of office, largely, people say, because of Mahathir's influence.

But at least while he was still the premier, Abdullah Badawi dared to go against Mahathir. cancelling all expensive grandiose projects of the Mahathir regime, including the latter's pet project, the crooked bridge to nowhere across the straits of Johore.

And Abdullah also somewhat opened up  the space for public discourse and a relatively more open press that had contributed not insignificantly to Pakatan's rise as a viable political alternative to the long ruling Barisan coalition helmed by Umno.

Abdullah Badawi also had the guts to call for an GE to obtain his own mandate as the premier as soon as he took over from Mahathir.

For all of this, Malaysians have much to be grateful for.

But what about Najib?

Four years after taking over the premiership from Abdullah Badawi, Najib still has no guts to call for the 13th GE, despite boasting on numerous occasions that he would win hands down, and he also appears not to be his own man. Najib is the longest serving 'unmandated' Pm of Malaysia.

He is still looking over his shoulders. Mahathir still watches over him, and Najib is grateful!

No wonder Najib is only reduced to reprising his alphabets. So, today, Najib is noted as the Campbell alphabet soup man.

For those not so conversant (I believe there are few of these Malaysians left), the appellation refers to Najib's fondness of coming up with crazy plans and crazy schemes with crazy sounding names like ETPs, BRIM and whatnot.

And Najib is also famous for doubling the sovereign debt in the four short years from 200+ billion Ringgit to 500+ billion Ringgit, a figure that has exceeded the legal limit of 55% GDP, and still counting, not taking into consideration contingent liabilities!

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