Wednesday, June 03, 2015
Belacan Is Good For A Lame Duck
PARTI Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) is deciding tomorrow who is to lead and which path to follow. If the religious group prevails, PAS is more likely to become a “dakwah” (preaching) party. Winning elections comes second.
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If there is a healthy mix of the ulama and the professionals, PAS may still pursue hudud but will place equal importance to winning elections.
Whatever the case may be, PAS proves that it is democratic in choosing leaders. The competition for posts is stiff. Even the President, Abdul Hadi Awang, is being challenged.
The outcome of the election is critical to both the opposition Pakatan Rakyat and the ruling Barisan Nasional. Without PAS it’s hard for PR to win the next general election while Prime Minister, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, is hoping that PAS will come to his rescue should the opposition from his own party, Umno, become insurmountable.
But I don’t think Abdul Hadi or his opponent, Ahmad Awang, will take a risk of partnering Mohd Najib or joining the BN. PAS is better off being in an unhappy relationship with the DAP than remarrying Umno, especially now when Mohd Najib’s trouble with his own party and the rakyat appears to be getting more complicated.
The latest episode being his demand that rebels leave the Cabinet. That is after declaring that he would not succumb to the demand of one man (read: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) because he enjoys the support of Umno members and the people.
But if there are rebels in the Cabinet, then he does not have full support of his party. The Cabinet rebels are most likely to be from Umno.
Mohd Najib had said repeatedly that he has full backing of Umno. Going by the way the party and its various wings held meetings after meetings to pledge support for him, it is natural for the Umno President to believe that he has their full support.
But if he believes strongly enough that there are rebels in his Cabinet so as to challenge them to leave, then the indications are he no longer enjoys full support of his party.
Thus my contention in the posting of May 28 entitled “PM Goes On The Offensive” that he “should immediately reshuffle the Cabinet to exclude Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin, for being a pain in the rear, and possibly Sabahan Shafie Apdal” has its basis. There are rebels in his Cabinet.
It may not be a full-scale rebellion but an open disagreement or a qualified support as the case is with his cousin and Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.
According to online media, Hishammuddin twitted: “Agree, with conditions: 1) rationalisation of 1MDB, 2) accountability if there is wrongdoing, and 3) transparency on (conditions 1 and 2).”
But do not expect any of them to step down. Some would not dare because they owe too much to him while others have dark secrets to hide.
For those who do not have skeletons to hide, they will stay on in defiance of his challenge and, indirectly, dare him to sack them.
Could the PM have been checkmated yet again or his Bugis pride is causing him to lose sight of reality?
Also, if he has full support of his party, why is there the need for him to meet groups of six to 10 Umno divisional chiefs on regular basis? Some sources say on daily.
Is he fearful that past pledges have waned and need to be reinforced with financial allocations and promises?
In the same posting, I also said: “To make it even more sensational, Anwar Ibrahim could be tempted to endorse it (the bad book on Dr Mahathir) via a preface. I am sure that can be arranged if the latter is given a few days to rest and recreate at, say, the HUKM.”
On Tuesday, June 2, Anwar was warded at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital. My roadside sources (to quote Encik Rizal Mansor) told me that the PM or someone close to him might be making an exploratory visit to him at his hospital bed. Just watch out whether or nor Anwar will be allowed an extended hospital stay!
Mohd Najib Not The Constitution
As for Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s suggestion that there should be a direct election of the PM, I do not think our Constitution provides for it.
Ours is a constitutional monarchy where the PM is nominated by the party. Malaysia is not a republic. I am sure Ku Li does not mean that we should be a republic. Warning. Be very careful. This enters the realm of sedition.
Our problem is not with the Constitution. It is not even with the post of PM. We have had five PMs before Mohd Najib. We had issues with two of them – Almarhum Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Both resigned amicably when they realised that they no longer enjoyed the support of their party.
So it is not the way we elect a PM that is the problem. The problem is we now have Mohd Najib as our PM. He does not want to resign because he believes he has the support of the majority and he will never be allowed to give in and give up by the people around him, starting with his wife.
As for the rumours that Jho Low and his Abu Dhabi associates met Mohd Najib in Kuala Lumpur last Thursday to chart the future direction of 1MDB, only Ahmad Husni Hazadlah can confirm or deny.
But the following day (Friday) May 29, Ahmad Husni confirmed that the Abu Dhabi-based International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) and its subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS would lend 1MDB US$1 billion (RM3.6 billion) to settle its US$975-million syndicated loan from the Deutsche Bank-led consortium.
In the meantime, the country continues to suffer a serious confidence deficit as reflected by the economy and the marketplace. In the American political parlance, our PM is a lame duck.
In the northern slang, a lame duck is called “itik mantah.” It cannot not walk and quacks faintly. My mother’s cure for that deadly avian affliction is feed it with the smelly but highly nutritious “belacan”.
- A KADIR JASIN
- I was born in 1947 in Kedah. I came from a rice farming family. I have been a journalist since 1969. I am the Editor-in-Chief of magazine publishing company, Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. I was Group Editor NST Sdn Bhd and Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP Bhd between 1988 and 2000. I write fortnightly column “Other Thots” in the Malaysian Business magazine, Kunta Kinte Original in Berita Harian and A Kadir Jasin Bercerita in Dewan Masyarakat. Books: Biar Putih Tulang (1998), Other Thots – Opinions & Observations 1992-2001 (2001), The Wings of an Eagle (2003), Mencari Dugalia Huso (2006), Damned That Thots (2006), Blogger (2006), PRU 2008-Rakyat Sahut Cabaran (2008), Komedi & Tragedi-Latest in Contemporary Malaysian Politics (2009) and Membangun Bangsa dengan Pena (2009).