When I told a friend I was going to list down five reasons why Najib is in trouble, he laughed, “You are going to need more than five!”
He is of course right. But let me try all the same.
1. The economy is in trouble
The economy alone could provide 10 reasons! But I will just lump it under one. By now, we are all familiar with what ails the economy. The bright side is that many have started paying attention to economic indicators. Those who haven’t will find out anyway when they pay the bill at their favourite eatery or grocery shop and get a rude shock when they find out how much prices have soared and their ringgit has shrunk.
By now, we are probably familiar with our dwindling international reserves, the high household debt, the youth unemployment (even among graduate and diploma holders), the slump in commodity prices, the drooping domestic demand as folk cut back on spending, the soaring food prices due to overreliance on imports and the brain drain. See I told you the economy alone could provide 10 reasons. But who’s counting anyway. Let’s move on
2. A credibility crisis
The list of broken promises on the Sedition Act, etc took the cake. But the way Najib handled the 1MDB scandal and that RM2.6bn (could be worth a lot more now after the ringgit depreciation!) ‘donation’ was like having that cake flung into our face. The disruption of the investigations simply smashed public confidence in his leadership.
Pointed questions have been raised about what happened to the balance of the ‘donation’ when his bank account was closed.
Now, even the Swiss have begun investigations into banks linked with 1MDB. Questions have also been raised about the accounts in Singapore.
Add to that the international perception of Malaysia as a place of rampant corruption, and it doesn’t look good for Najib’s leadership at all. He gives the impression of a desperate leader lashing out with unstatesmanlike words like bangsat.
3. A rift in Umno
Was the Umno Supreme Council informed about the RM2.6bn ‘donation’? Muhyiddin appeared to be in the dark. If I was in the Supreme Council, I wouldn’t be amused to find that the party president had received such a staggering amount. Was the party Supreme Council kept in the loop?
Outside the inner circle, Mahathir and Muhyiddin are not going to make life any easier for Najib.
The longer this stalemate continues, the more the realisation will dawn on the Umno upper echelon that Najib is more of a millstone around its collective neck than a vote-winner.
4. Eroding confidence in Institutions
From Mara dabbling in properties in Australia reportedly at inflated prices to FGV share prices tanking to attempts to get Tabung Haji to buy land from 1MDB, one has to wonder what the grassroots, many of them Umno faithful, make of all this.
And then, there is the matter of the public perception of the judiciary, the MACC, police, Election Commission….
These institutions are supposed to protect our interests; but now the saying “Harapkan pagar, pagar makan padi” comes to mine.
5. The Bersih 4 rally
A massive turnout at the Bersih rally will serve as a referendum on Najib’s leadership and pile added pressure on the premier. That is why everyday we read stuff in the papers trying to deter Malaysians from attending.
But many are simply so determined to participate. Judging from the response at Bersih forums in Alor Star, Penang, Klang and Batu Pahat, a yellow tide is rising against the corruption, lavish spending and ostentatious lifestyles that are the hallmarks of the top leadership.
Why even Perkasa has indicated it will not stop its members from participating! I wonder what the ‘red shirts’ make of that!
A massive turnout would show all and sundry the extent of public dissatisfaction with Najib’s leadership. This external outpouring could convince the establishment that Najib’s leadership is getting the country nowhere and that Malaysians have had enough.
See you in KL; I will be wandering around the streets there in the next few days, giving you a flavour of what it is like. If you are unable to access my blog for any reason, follow me on Twitter.
I am not going to miss this for the world – because I care for this country and where we are heading, and I am sure you do too. Will I see you there?
Now, where’s my hat?