When Abdullah Badawi took over the premiership from Mahathir Mohamad, he had a fantastic chance to put right the crippling effects of Mahathirism when the only voice to be heard then was the master's own.
When the institutions of state were first being weakened, starting with the emasculation of the judiciary following the infamous sacking of the then Lord President and several senior judges on flimsy excuses.
Malaysians were expecting and ready for change and they evinced it by giving Adullah Badawi a massive mandate in 2004.
But Badawi was either a poor student of psychology who was unable to read, let alone understand, the mood of the rakyat who had given him the huge mandate that even Mahathir in his 22 years in power could not garner, or he was so much part of the crippling system that he was unwilling or unable and failed to capitalise on the rakyat's mandate to bring about the changes and reforms that the people had expected and that he had promised.
For Abdullah to now admit that he should have been tougher in pushing for reforms is not even hindsight, but an admission of a massive failure on his part to bring about the changes and reforms Malaysians had expected of him.
In fact, in a way, it is an admission of a betrayal of the trust reposed on him by the rakyat who had given him the massive mandate in 2004.
But at least he could be credited for opening up the space for public discourse.
And, at least in one instance, thumping his nose up at his predecessor by refusing to go on with the latter's mega projects .
One, in particular, that must have had really riled up the old man - the crooked bridge to no where that Abdullah had allowed to get lost in Oxford so to speak.
Why Mahathir was so obsessed with building the crooked bridge, which would have had led to no where had it been built if Singapore did not want to play along, and it appeared that they did not and still does not want to, only he knows.
Critics however, largely believe that it had a lot to do with big money to be made, and megalomania.
Najib, as Abdullah's successor, is simply hopeless to start with.
Najib did not even have the stamp of a personal mandate from the people for four long years before he was forced by the effluxion of time to finally call for Ge13.
That was the measure of the man who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
He had waited until forced to by time to seek a mandate of his own.
But, despite all the sums spent and the almost non stop demonising of the opposition in the main stream media shamelessly working on his side, not to mention an Election Commission seen largely as an extension of Umno rather than as a neutral and independent body committed to conducting free and fair elections, Najib managed to lose more seats for the BN coalition that he led, than his predecessor did in 2008.
What more, losing the popular vote for the first time in their history, in a general election.
Najib was then left to conveniently blame his predicament on a Chinese tsunami. As if the Chinese, or any Malaysian voter for that matter, were obliged to vote him, Umno or the Bn coalition that he led.
The tragic thing is that Najib and Umno are still in denial mode, not wanting to acknowledge that they had lost the Malay vote - that more Malays had voted for the opposition than they had for the Umno/Bn coalition in Ge13.
Really, Najib was handicapped right from the beginning.
With corruption allegations and the ghost of a Mongolian beauty haunting the corridors of power and clinging to his back and still not exorcised, there was and is nothing really that Najib could or can do to bring about reforms that would mean anything to Malaysians and the nation as a whole.
Selamat Hari Raya Aidifitri to my Muslim readers!
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