If you thought the divisions in Pakatan were bad enough, Umno itself is split. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this clip.
How bad can it get? Even staunch Umno supporter Ummi Hafilda has had enough! Now, isn’t this poetic? She helped in the effort to remove Anwar as DPM and now here she is in tears over the ouster of DPM Muhyiddin! Boo-hoo-hoo. You reap what you sow.
So many things have happened in recent days, it is hard to keep up. Sifting through the news, I have been struck by the following:
The cabinet reshuffle is being seen as an attempt to disrupt the 1MDB probe. Have a look at how the international media are viewing all this. Facing corruption scandal, Malaysian PM fires officials investigating him
The reshuffle has thrown into serious question the continuing 1MDB investigation by the PAC. Even though the PAC still has a quorum, its opponents argue it does not have a long-term chairman and the composition does not reflect the proportion of parties in Parliament.
The removal of the Attorney General is also controversial, as he was in the midst of the 1MDB probe.
(By the way, what kind of documents were burned in the Bukit Aman fire and what was the cause of the blaze?)
As for Muhyiddin’s removal, for the first time since Musa Hitam’s resignation in 1986 (which heralded a split in Umno), a serving Umno deputy president is not the deputy prime minister. Now, of course, this is just convention and there is nothing to say that the Umno deputy president MUST be the DPM, but it does indicate how much the party is in disarray, with party elections having been deferred.
Muhyiddin’s statement in Mukhriz’s presence about Najib allegedly admitting he had received RM2.6bn into his own bank account is just the first salvo. Najib will now have to contend with a formidable ‘3M’ force: Mahathir, Muhyiddin and Mukhriz. It looks like an implosion within Umno waiting to happen.
Down south, the Umno stronghold of Johor, the party’s birthplace, can no longer be considered a ‘fixed deposit’. Johor Umno won’t be happy with Muhyiddin’s ouster. And the statements from the Johor Prince are not going to help Najib. One PKR strategist I know was relishing the prospect of the next general election in Johor.
So Najib has surrounded himself with loyalists while the dissidents have been purged from the Cabinet. They are circling the wagons, preparing to make a last stand against the opposing ‘marauders’. While this will ensure Najib’s short-term survival, in the long run it probably is not the smartest move. Now Najib has inadvertently enlarged the pool of opposing marauders – and crucially, he won’t know what his party foes are doing beyond the circle of wagons.
While all this is going on, we have almost completely neglected the upcoming conclusion of the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which will open the floodgates to transnational corporations to assume greater power in our economy.
The United States is so desperate for Malaysia to sign on to the TPPA, it has upgraded us from rock bottom Tier 3 to Tier 2 in the human trafficking grading – this, after the global headline revelations of the death camps along the Malaysia-Thai border. How hypocritical can the US get!
And now UK Prime Minister David Cameron wants to come to Malaysia to peddle more jets to us. For all their talk of human rights and good governance, these leaders want to cosy up or play golf with the likes of Najib just to sell their latest toys and network on behalf of Big Corporations.
Elsewhere, Harapan Baru appears to have found a new party vehicle in Kita and is building up momentum. This could be worth watching. Now law expert Aziz Bari has joined the DAP. So things are shaping up well for Pakatan v2.0, under the circumstances.
Meanwhile, the campaign in Solidarity with The Edge and Sarawak Report appears to be breaking new ground while Bersih 2.0 has announced a new rally. More on this soon.