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Repost article from Anil Netto :: No good time for Najib

By Anil Netto

PENANG – Malaysia’s ruling coalition is having second thoughts about holding an early snap general election. The problem for Prime Minister Najib Razak and his United Malays Nasional Organization (UMNO)-led administration, however, is that time is running short to win a pre-emptive electoral advantage before the current five-year parliamentary term expires in April 2013.

Speculation about snap elections has intensified as parties led by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat (People’s Justice Party) begin to fancy their chances of wresting power from UMNO and the Barisan Nasional coalition for the first time since independence.

A steady stream of corruption allegations against Najib’s government has dented its public image and, amid economic weakness, has raised popular concern that the country cannot sustain the endemic official hemorrhage. Earlier vows by Najib to repeal, reform or replace some of the country’s more anti-democratic laws, meanwhile, have failed to give UMNO any popular momentum as officials have maintained heavy-handed tactics against political dissent.

Anwar and his opposition allies in the Democratic Action Party and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) have campaigned previously on issues related to clean and more-democratic governance. Already at a considerable disadvantage due to election rules and regulations that favor the incumbent including an official campaign period of only 10 days before the polls, they have vowed not to be caught off guard by snap polls.

The belief is that Najib, like previous premiers, is waiting for an opportune moment when public opinion is perceived to be in his favor to call the polls. But as his UMNO predecessor Abdullah Badawi discovered at the 2008 general election, where the opposition scored historic gains including control over five of 13 federal states, there may not be a favorable time on the near-term horizon.

Some analysts believe he missed an opportunity earlier this year when his personal approval ratings were high. The premier had just announced a string of grassroots handouts, including one-off cash payments of 300 ringgits (US$94.70) to each household with a monthly income of less than 3,000 ringgits, a populist program known as One Malaysia People’s Assistance. His Government Transformation Program (GTP) and Economic Transformation Program (ETP), meanwhile, had given his administration a reformist sheen.

Najib had also announced a 15,000 ringgit windfall for settlers, many of whom are UMNO supporters, who are part of a decades-old nationwide rural cash crop resettlement scheme, the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda). The announcement came ahead of the listing of Felda Global Ventures (FGV), an investment vehicle created to unlock the value of Felda’s commercial assets and holdings.

Prices rose quickly when FGV was first listed, but analysts have since questioned the future commercial returns of the listed concern given that many of the plantations in its fold consist of palm oil trees that are reaching maturity. A protest rally by those worried about how the policy will impact on Felda’s future will be held on July 14.

Controversy also arose over a proposed new remuneration scheme for civil servants when it was pointed out that top officials would receive especially hefty pay hikes, widening the already yawning income gap with those at the bureaucracy’s lower tiers. Amid the criticism, the scheme was hastily revised.

Pundits earlier predicted snap polls would be held in March, coinciding with Najib’s hand-outs, pay raises and privatization policy. But faced with uncertainties about those policies’ popular appeal, including among UMNO stalwarts, Najib was forced to recalculate.

Reform ruse

In the interim, the civil society coalition for clean and fair elections, known locally as Bersih, stepped up its campaign demanding wide-ranging reforms to the country’s electoral process, which is widely viewed as giving the UMNO-led ruling coalition unfair advantages.

The turning point came during a huge rally held on April 28 attended by, according to some estimates, more than 200,000 people demanding electoral reforms. The government’s heavy-handed treatment of peaceful street demonstrators, including mass arrests and the use of tear gas and water cannons, dispelled any notions that Najib’s government was serious about democratic reforms.

Najib’s legal reforms also came under fire in June when detainees under the Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows detention without charge, launched a high profile hunger strike. Najib had announced last year that the ISA would be repealed and replaced with a new Security Offenses Act (which notably still allows for detention without charge), but 45 ISA detainees remained incarcerated, some for years without formal charges being pressed. Najib met the criticism with silence.

Official transparency also took a hit when whistle-blowers were investigated, questioned or visited by authorities in at least three high profile cases: the inquiry into official corruption in a submarine deal with France (the subject of an ongoing judicial inquiry in Paris) initiated by human-rights group Suaram; a 250 million ringgit grant for breeding cows to a feedlot company managed by the husband of a cabinet minister; and the questionable selection of a company during a tender process for the extension of a light rail transit system in the capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, prominent Bersih activists, including an analyst who is due to speak at Bersih events over the next few days, have faced intimidation and even assault by unknown individuals or little-known groups. In the aftermath of the April Bersih rally, Ambiga Sreenevasan, the Bersih steering committee co-chair, was harassed outside her private residence by groups believed to be supportive of UMNO.

Bersih steering committee member Wong Chin Huat was assaulted by unknown assailants while on a recent neighborhood jog. Analyst Ong Kian Ming, who has regularly highlighted discrepancies in voters’ rolls, including apparent phantom voters, saw intruders trying to break into his house this week while he was in his living room.

The government-controlled Election Commission has bowed to a couple of protester demands. For the first time it will allow the use of indelible ink to prevent multiple voting and permit the registration of overseas Malaysians as postal voters provided they have returned to Malaysia at least once in the previous five years.

Concerns remain, however, over significant increases in voter registration in peninsular Malaysia’s most developed state, Selangor, one of the four states currently under opposition rule. (The opposition lost control of one of the five states it won at the 2008 polls.) In some seats in Selangor, the number of registered voters has inexplicably swelled by more than 20% since 2008.

Najib must now also factor into his political calculations the extent to which the economic crisis in Europe and the slowdowns in China and the United States will affect Malaysia’s export-reliant economy. The potential economic hit from abroad comes at a time the government’s fiscal management has come into question.

The Edge, a local business weekly, recently expressed concern about the long-term sustainability of the government’s heavy reliance on national oil corporation Petronas to finance its spending programs. Petronas finances an estimated 45% of the national budget and payments have doubled over the past five years. A huge chunk of the budget goes to the heavily centralized and somewhat opaque prime minister’s department.

“Oil majors plough back close to 55% of their profits into the business, while national oil corporations reinvest as much as 65%,” The Edge noted in a comment piece. “[But] Reinvestment at Petronas stands at just over 20% of profits.” The editorial suggested that at current usage and export rates Malaysia could soon become a net importer of oil.

The longer Najib waits to call elections, the more global uncertainty will cloud the country’s economic prospects and raise new questions about the government’s performance. Although a fiscal boost when the annual budget is passed later this year will no doubt aim to dole out more populist sweeteners to grassroots voters, a longer wait could also allow more damaging corruption allegations to rise to the political surface.

Anil Netto is a Penang-based writer.

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打工族 says:


Dio says:



所以你拿到哪500元援助金的话,其实那是你自己借来的,而且其余的1万6500进了jib gor 和其他巫统大尾蛇和朋党的袋袋里!所以不要高兴!

华心 says:

只要你满21岁,在9月15日之前到邮政局出示身份证,告诉柜台“daftar pengundi”, 登记成为选民,如果大选在2013年举行,到时你就可以投下神圣的一票,改朝换代,告别腐败!


Jim says:





该民调中心认为,不同社群的不同看法很有可能是因为关注我国目前的经济课题所致,至于印裔社群,则是因为对净选盟联合主席安碧嘉(Ambiga Sreenivasan)的言论所致。另一方面,一些受访者对首相纳吉要替代《煽动法令》、承认拉曼学院文凭有好感,并且消解了人民对政府于4月净选盟大集会反应的愤怒。


Ray says:

Family income growth since 2009 is only 1.5%, far lower than inflation brought about by the policy of Barang Naik regime.
How to achieve high income nation by 2020? Najib may have to pump more BR1M to households every 6 months?

Cement price to go up by another 6%.
How do you expect a home price to come down?
Maybe BN can get kampung folks to build houses with mud or cow dung like th people in Afica?

nkkhoo says:

Land price is risen like rocket.

Murugan says:

A good article to read is this:

The amber lights are flashing for Umno/BN
by Sakmongkol AK47