Najib walks softly and carries a big stick

Dato Seri Mohd Najib Merasmikan Persidangan Perwakilan Nasional 2015 Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia

Then Muhyiddin says that he actually does not understand the issue and whatever little knowledge he may have regarding 1MDB was what he had read in The Edge. In short, Muhyiddin’s knowledge of 1MBD is limited to the stolen and doctored information that The Edge had published. Beyond that Muhyiddin does not know anything. Or so he claims.

One of my favourite movies of 1973 was Walking Tall, which was based on the life of Tennessee sheriff Buford Pusser. The slogan of that movie was ‘walk softly and carry a big stick’. That phrase was actually ciplak from Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘speak softly and carry a big stick’, which became the thrust of his foreign policy. They did a remake of that movie in 2004.

Anyway, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was initially accused of being scared. “Why is he so quiet?” his critics said. What kind of Bugis warrior is this who does not fight back? Do something if you really are a fighter. Don’t allow your enemies to keep whacking you without hitting back. “Sue! Sue! Sue!” his detractors screamed.

Well, Najib was just walking softly while carrying his big stick. He is not a coward as his enemies claimed. He wanted, as the Malays would say, to allow his enemies to habis modal. They were throwing everything including the kitchen sink at him. Najib wanted to wait until they had nothing else to throw at him and then counter-attack. This, after all, was what his Boffin Boys had advised him to do and he listened to this advice.

But he did not want to bark, like what those opposed to him were doing. Barking dogs seldom bite. He just glared and growled and when the time was opportune he bit; bit his enemies right on their sorry behind. But he did not bite at random. He planned his bites. While his enemies continued barking he strategised and executed his counter-attacks based on timing.

Yes, as they say, timing is everything. Even the most brilliant plans will fail if the execution is wrongly timed. For example, you do not attack Russia in winter, as both Napoleon and Hitler found out the hard way. Winter is what Stalin called Russia’s best defence force. The Russian winter would wipe out even the best and strongest army in the world.

In June this year, 1MDB tabled its rationalisation and debt reduction plan to the Cabinet. After listening to what the new management of 1MDB, which took over earlier in the year, was going to do, and which would be completed by the end of the year, the Cabinet approved the plan.

Then Najib went overseas and allowed his Deputy, Muhyiddin Yassin, to chair the Cabinet meeting that week, and the 1MDB matter was raised and explained at that Cabinet meeting. With Muhyiddin in the chair, the Cabinet was given a clear picture of developments in 1MDB. Any Cabinet member who was still not clear could ask questions so that the matter can be further explained.

Muhyiddin did not state that he was still not clear and that he still needed further clarification so that he could better understand the issue. Minutes of the Cabinet meetings are protected by the Official Secrets Act, but suffice to say that the Cabinet was happy with the matter and agreed that 1MDB should continue its rationalisation and debt reduction plan until the end of the year when the results are supposed to be in.

Then Muhyiddin says that he actually does not understand the issue and whatever little knowledge he may have regarding 1MDB was what he had read in The Edge. In short, Muhyiddin’s knowledge of 1MBD is limited to the stolen and doctored information that The Edge had published. Beyond that Muhyiddin does not know anything. Or so he claims.

In the following month in July, Najib swung his sword and lobbed off the heads of all those in the movement to oust him. Suddenly Najib is not really that scared after all. All those taunts saying that Najib is a coward and is keeping silent and dares not strike back were silenced. He not only struck back, he stuck back with the ferocity of a Bugis who had been rubbed the wrong way.

And now the grumblings are going the opposite way. Instead of grumbling that Najib is keeping silent and is not responding and is a coward, the grumblings are that Najib has no right to do what he did. His actions against his enemies are too brutal, say his critics.

But then that is the fruits of war, is it not? Was Stalin brutal in wiping out four-fifths of Hitler’s army? Did the Russians need to chase the Germans all the way back to Berlin and exterminate any German they found in their path? Well, when an army is on the march it does not have the time and resources to take prisoners. That would slow the army down and Russia was in a hurry to reach Berlin before the Americans do — because Capitalist America, Russia’s ally during WWII, was actually an enemy of Socialism.

Yes, America and Russia were enemies. But in the war against Germany they cooperated, like the way DAP does (or did) with PAS. However, that does not mean that America and Russia trust each other. Even while they were wiping out Hitler’s army there was a competition as to who can reach Berlin first. So while America wasted so much time gathering prisoners, Russia just got its tanks to run over the retreating Germans and not waste time taking live Germans.

And that is the reality of war. You do whatever you can to win. Najib’s enemies are doing whatever they can to win. So should Najib not also do the same? Why suddenly talk about what is fair and what is unfair. In war everything is fair.

Fair and unfair are relative. It all depends on which side you are with. Bombing cities and killing millions of civilians in Germany and Japan is terribly unfair to the Germans and the Japanese. But to the Americans it is fair if the war can be brought to an early end. It is even fair to drop napalm bombs and spray Agent Orange on North Vietnam just to prop up the most corrupt South Vietnamese government as long as that government is pro-America.

The long and short of it is: don’t start a fight if you cannot take the punches. And if someone wields a sword where in the ‘rulebook’ does it say you cannot bring down that adversary with your gun? Did you not watch Indiana Jones in that movie Raiders of the Lost Ark? – Raja Petra Kamarudin

6 Replies to “Najib walks softly and carries a big stick

Leave a Reply