He has not only survived, but has thwarted, Mahathir’s best machinations.
Embattled. Under siege. Facing his greatest test. These words have been been used over and over again to describe Prime Minister Najib Razak’s situation. They carry the connotation that the Prime Minister is weak enough to depose. Perhaps it’s time his detractors admit that they are indulging in wishful thinking.
The truth is that, despite the challenges he faces, Najib still sits as our Prime Minister. It’s time to acknowledge his strength and tenacity, even as certain segments of the public deride him as a coward. This is not to say that the insult is entirely without basis. Najib’s “one step forward and two steps backward” approach to suing the Wall Street Journal has lent strength to this perception. But when it comes to matters domestic, the PM has shown a mastery of political intrigue that does not seem to fit with his cherubic appearance. He has not only survived, but has thwarted, the best machinations engineered by Mahathir Mohamad, a savvy political operator himself.
Despite the glimmer of hope Najib’s detractors see in Mahathir’s press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation, the truth is that even Mahathir himself had to recognise the PM’s strength. His press conference tells us that only the old guard are willing to stand behind him, bar Muhyiddin Yassin and Shafie Apdal, though “old guard” could perhaps be used to describe them as well.