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Monday, September 21, 2020

The anti-Najib campaign is losing steam

mahathir-najib-2020

So now it has been reduced to just 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion. These are the only issues they can still use to justify a vote of no confidence against Najib. But if 1MDB manages to prove that the allegations against it are false (which I hear is in the cards), and if the RM2.6 billion is proven to have not come from 1MDB after all, then that would be the end of the move to oust the Prime Minister.

The Gerakan Anti-Najib or anti-Najib movement is getting worried. The campaign to oust Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is losing steam and the planned vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister may not happen after all if they cannot get at least 112 MPs to support the vote. And it appears like they may not get the numbers after all.

Shahbudin Husin said today that all is lost if Muhyiddin Yassin does not continue to fight. “He has already lost the Deputy Premiership and continues to be sidelined by Najib in the party, so what’s he waiting for?” said Shahbudin. “Don’t let Mahathir, at 90, carry on the fight alone. This is not the time to go on frequent vacations.”

“It’s too late for Muhyiddin to keep quiet now after having been sacked. If he wants to keep quiet, he should have done so from the beginning, and avoided being sacked. Having been sacked, why keep quiet? Even if he keeps quiet, Najib is going to roast him anyway in the party because there’s a lack of trust between them.”

The anti-Najib movement was hoping that Muhyiddin would team up with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in pushing for Najib’s resignation — and if he refuses to resign then to gather 120-130 MPs to vote him out in Parliament. That, however, now appears unlikely to happen.

The attacks on Najib are now just focused on 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion. They have dropped the Crooked Bridge to Singapore, Najib giving in to the Chinese in the 2013 general election, Riza Aziz’s movie ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, and so on. They realise that all these other issues are backfiring.

Many who oppose Najib (or who support Dr Mahathir) feel that to attack Najib regarding the Crooked Bridge may not be a sound idea after all. While Dr Mahathir may argue that the Crooked Bridge is an economic advantage to Malaysia, they cannot see how that can be so. How would half a bridge to Singapore boost Malaysia’s economy? There has to be some sort of explanation to support this assumption.

The other point regarding the Crooked Bridge that Dr Mahathir raised is that why should Singapore be telling Malaysia what it can and cannot do? After all, Malaysia is building half a bridge on its side of the border and is not infringing Singapore territory. So what business is it of Singapore?

“And why is Najib listening to Singapore?” asks Dr Mahathir. “Why is Najib so scared of Singapore? What does Singapore have on him?”

It appears like the Crooked Bridge is more about showing Singapore who is the boss, a game of one-upmanship. And the fact that Singapore said that the relationship between the two countries is now at its best and has never been better gives an impression that Singapore is saying that since Najib became Prime Minister the relations between the two countries has improved — while in the past under the previous Prime Minister it was bad. And this riles up Dr Mahathir even further.

The allegation that Najib is giving in to the Chinese, which Dr Mahathir made soon after the 2013 general election, brings back memories of the same allegation that was made against Tunku Abdul Rahman in 1969 when Malaysia faced a bloody race riot, the infamous ‘May 13’.

People do not want to be reminded about how the Tunku was ousted using the allegation that he is a Chinese lover and gives the Chinese too much face, and which has resulted in the Chinese becoming too arrogant and which has angered the Malays. The same allegation against Najib can actually trigger similar problems that Malaysia faced back in 1969.

Raising questions about where Riza obtained the money to finance his movie is also counterproductive. Dr Mahathir did not really allege that Riza financed his movie using stolen money — stolen from 1MDB, that is. He just asked where the money came from if the money was not stolen. In other words, if you did not steal the money then prove it by showing us evidence of where the money came from.

Even the pro-Mahathir or anti-Najib faction is worried that this allegation of possible wrongdoing may backfire. The same question can be asked about Dr Mahathir’s own children. They, too, became instant millionaires and some even say billionaires. And, according to Anwar Ibrahim, they became super-rich because they abused their power and robbed the country.

Back in 1998 Anwar explained how he had angered Dr Mahathir because he refused to part with RM2 billion of the taxpayers’ money to help bail out the Prime Minister’s son. In fact, Dr Mahathir himself confirmed this when he said his son had asked for RM2 billion but Anwar had agreed to only RM1 billion. Hence his son had ‘lost’ RM1 billion, Dr Mahathir grumbled. But then Petronas made a huge profit on his son’s RM1 billion ‘loss’, added Dr Mahathir.

Many feel that Dr Mahathir should not attack the Prime Minister’s family when his own family is not beyond suspicion. So the issue of the movie was dropped, as was the issue of the Crooked Bridge and about Najib giving in to the Chinese. These issues actually hurt their case against Najib.

So now it has been reduced to just 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion. These are the only issues they can still use to justify a vote of no confidence against Najib. But if 1MDB manages to prove that the allegations against it are false (which I hear is in the cards), and if the RM2.6 billion is proven to have not come from 1MDB after all, then that would be the end of the move to oust the Prime Minister.

So many are now just playing the waiting game. They are no longer too sure that Najib can be ousted later this month. So better they wait and see what happens first before they come out and openly declare their loyalties. After all, good politics is about supporting the winning side and not about going down with the ship. And if you do not know this then you should get out of politics.

Raja Petra Kamarudin

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