As a political think tank, we try to chart a trajectory of a political leader’s performance with a report on the ten of many other back pedaling policies of our Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. No other Prime Minister of Malaysia has shown a consistency of back pedaling other than Najib.
Political Studies for Change (KPRU – Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan)
You may be talking about when is the election. As a political think tank, we try to chart a trajectory of a political leader’s performance with a report on the ten of many other back pedaling policies of our Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. No other Prime Minister of Malaysia has shown a consistency of back pedaling other than Najib. With the aspiration of Wawasan 2020 replaced with 1Malaysia and the hot air of aspiring dreams of Najib to usher Malaysia into a new era of a developed nation, the past five years from 2008 till today, the one thing Najib can be proud are the high levels of corruption and an equally divided nation.
The election that may change the future of Malaysia is right around the corner. The Malaysian people are getting antsy to get this over and done with. As a leader of this country, a Prime Minister, a question is posed, “Where does Najib stand in all of this?”. As an equally divided nation, what does the future of the Malaysian hold under an indecisive leader? Budget 2013 may have offered goodies but it is a disconnected budget that doesn’t match the wants of the Malaysian people. How would giving rebate for smartphones help the youth in forging their future? How would it help raise the quality of future young leaders of this country? Does it help more youth to get quality education?
As such, the questions raised by the giving of smartphone rebates is only an appetiser. This list of ten backpedalling policies provides us with more questions than it does with answers. Answers that is owed by the Prime Minister to us, the Malaysian people.
Table 1 : List of Najib’s Indecisiveness compiled by Political Studie for Change (KPRU – Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan)
Najib’s Administration a Bad Pun
In November 2012, Najib introduced his book on political transformation. In the book, Najib explained that transformation in the political and legal system practiced by the government in efforts to prepare Malaysia to become a modern, democratic and progressive nation that adopts universal values.
Yet the “transformation” seeked by the Najib administration has not so much been a transformation than a broken track record going in circles. Najib and his administration has successfully proven to not have the political will to deliver those promised transformations, he has also proven time and time again that he “works best” without the trust of the Malaysian citizens.
Case in point is the Lynas controversy. It is a game of ping pong between Najib Administration, Lynas and the Malaysian people. Najib asssured the radioactive waste is safely secured at the plant. Reassurememt is followed by the Atomic Licensing Board (AELB) in which the board reassures the public that the requirement of the safety standards has been satisfied by the plant. However, the ball was hit back by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry that issued a demand Lynas was to export the radioactive waste or its operating licence would be revoked. The ball was jointly returned by four Ministers of Najib’s administration. Those four Ministers included Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohamed, Minister of Science and Technology and Innovation Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Maximus Ongkili, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Datuk Seri Douglas Unggah Emas and Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai. According to the four Ministers, the Cabinet had also endorsed for the condition of removing all wastes from the Lynas Plant.
The Malaysian government is playing a dangerous round of russian roulette with the Malaysian people. The report by National Toxics Network discloses the dangers of improper waste management of the radioactive waste and yet the Malaysian government under Najib’s administration doesn’t seem to have the political will to ensure the safety of local residents are guaranteed safe. Without the guaranteed quality of the Lynas plant that was built and the lack of political will by the Najib administration, the repeating history of Bukit Merah tragedy is not a myth.
The second case in point of ping-pong by Najib’s administration is the Malaysia Airlines (MAS)-AirAsia shareswap. When it was first signed, the deal was expected to reduce competition and help MAS to return profitability. Yet eight months into the deal, the deal was scrapped and approximately 20,000 employees of MAS is left in a lurch with a failed corporate administration that have for 15 years failed to plug the bleed of MAS. This was after the swap was found to have caused more internal bleeding for MAS worth RM2.52 bilion in 2011 and a loss of RM1.28 billion for the fourth quarter of 2011.
The failed MAS-AirAsia share swap is another busted balloon following the launching of 20 projects under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) that was expected by the Najib administration to contribute as much as RM10.07 bilion to the GNI and create 64,282 jobs for Malaysians. Also to be noted was the statement by Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin who stated the the government had no other choice than to agree to a share swap as if MAS makes more losses, the government would have to inject funds into MAS.
Yet the ping-pong game by the Najib administration has not only failed to revive nor save the struggling MAS airline carrier, it has also jeopardized the careers of approximately 20,000 MAS employees and was the focus of a probe by the Malaysian Competition Commission for possible anti-competition abuse.
In the end, as proven by the scrapped share swap deal, there was no mutual benefit that arose from it. As per Khazanah Nasional, “the controversial share-swap deal between MAS and AirAsia has been cancelled as it had become a impediment to the recovery efforts of the loss making flag carrier”.
The third ping-pong by Najib’s administration is the flip-flop of the amended Section 114A Evidence Act. Najib has claimed that whatever his administration is doing, the people must be put first. Thus in his tweet, he has “asked” the Cabinet to discus the amended Section 114A. Yet apparently the Cabinet has been to not be called for a review of Section 114A.
The Silent Secondhand Clapper
This poses the question, who was lying to the Malaysian people? Was it Najib or was it his Cabinet? The charade of Section 114A continued with the non-action by the police against Umno Youth for the seditious religious posting on its Facebook page. The presumption of “guilty until proven innocence” as provided under Section 114A was apparently not applicable to Umno Youth.
Just as the internet blackout by Malaysian online users that succeeded in unprecedented support from across Malaysia as a means to protest against Section 114A, it still failed to stop Section 114A from operating. This however is no match for the massive concerted effort of the American online community against SOPA and PIPA in early January of 2012. SOPA and PIPA are Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. Both bills provided two methods for fighting copyright infringement on foreign websites. In one method, the U.S. Department of Justice could seek court orders requiring Internet service providers to block the domain names of infringing sites. For example, Comcast could prevent its customers from accessing thepiratebay.org, although the underlying IP address would still be reachable. This ISP-blocking provision was a major concern among Internet security experts, and both SOPA and PIPA have dropped it.
The other tool would allow rights holders to seek court orders requiring payment providers, advertisers, and search engines to stop doing business with an infringing site. In other words, rights holders would be able to request that funding be cut off from an infringing site, and that search links to that site be removed. The site in question would have five days to appeal any action taken.
The online protest saw 4.5 million people signing Google’s anti-SOPA/PIPA online petition, it converted 25 senators into opposers of the PIPA, 2.4 million SOPA-related tweets were scored in one day and lastly, the online protest had managed to stop SOPA and PIPA in its’ tracks and dumped by the American Congress.
In other words, the American Congress realized the law that fights against online-piracy, at the same time patronizes the freedom of the internet was a futile effort. The internet is a borderless universe and to set up regulations that undermine the freedom of information that runs through the veins of the internet is a useless effort in which Najib should learn a thing or two.
Coming back to Section 114A, Najib’s administration not only shown no consistent agreement amongst its’ members, but Najib too, in the race to win the hearts of Malaysian prior to the election made a public declaration that is an evident rhetoric, in which was proven by Nazri Aziz’s stance on the provision. In which according to Nazri, “Section 114A is here to stay to protect the country’s security. Those who were against the amendment did not undertstand the law” as opposed to Najib’s weak “order” to the Cabinet to review the amendment. While there were supporters of Najib’s “order”, nevertheless, the “order” was a half-hearted attempt to quell the voices of dissent.
The Toothless Tiger
This ping-pong game by Najibs’ administration begs the question, “who is the head of the administration?”. Who has more clout, authority within his administration? As clearly as it is by the amount of backpedalling, Najib’s voice seems to be drowned out by some other influential parties. Evidently those influential parties seem to have more authority, more clout than the voices of the Malaysian people. He is vague on the implementation of the RPGT and intends to implement the GST as silently and stealthily as possible, all the while, evading in giving real answers regarding the two. It is as if he is unsure of his own administration and the policies churned out by him and his administration. As well as faithfully backtracking on his New Economic Model that was to “benefit Malaysians as a whole” but was quietly swept under the carpet.
While trying to copy the American presidential campaign style, Najib has failed to learn from the United States with regards to the importance of listening to the people, particularly the internet community in this issue. Whilst the Malaysian internet community is not as vocal as the American internet community, Najib has proven to own a lacking of backbone or commitment as being the father of transformation. Najib’s administration also has a disturbing lack of understanding on how the internet works. Anonymity is both poison and cure for online users. To punish the entire Malaysian population for the acts of a few online bullies does not cut it as a transformation that is so call lauded by Najib’s administration. His administration seems to forget that to cure the menance of cyberbullying, Section 114A only acts a bandaid, it does not resolve the crux of the problem. It does not solve the source of cyberbullying and his lack of understanding on the psychology of such matters is clearly visible on his ping-pong of a game on Section 114A.
Najib has proven time and time again, his first priority are his closest allies or potential allies, his second priority is the people or pretending to listen to the citizens of this country. Just as the Peaceful Assembly Act that acts as a doublespeak of Najib administration on so called “respect for basic human rights”as a basis for abuse of basic human rights to be treated equally and equally protected under the constitution. For example the protection for Perkasa by Najib’s administration whilst at the same time, abusing the basic human rights of Malaysian to assemble and express freely without fear. Perkasa was given the freedom to spew racist acts whilst the Malaysian people were beaten, kicked and threatened for expressing their collective discontent against an unfair election.
The failure of the Public Service New Remuneration Scheme (SBPA) serves as a reminder of the priority of Najib and his administration. He conceded that the SBPA was launched based on the principle of a seven to thirteen percent salary hike and a raise in annual income of between RM80 and RM320 but when it was translated into action, it ran off from the decision that was made.In other words, the only raise that occured was the raise for senior offices whilst the lower ranked officers received a paltry raise as mere as RM1.70.
The pattern of Najib’s proud “transformation” is turning a theoretically good or mediocre idea into a bad example of executions in which the repercussions are felt by the everyday Malaysian citizens whilst at the same time, the tight circle around him escaped. Only when the citizens have raised their collective voices, Najib does a backflip on his own policies. All these backflips, ping-pong games and russian roulette with the Malaysian people, topped with the outstanding honorary place of being the most corrupt nation to do business, Najib’s administration seems to fail to grasp the gravity that these dots connect to create a vacuum that negates transformation and the so called dream of a developed Malaysian nation. Najib does not seem to be worried about his popularity as much as he thinks with these endless backflips and back pedaling.
His latest fallacy is of course the failure of the Automated Enforcement System (AES) in which critics have pointed out is a money making machine for private companies and not as a proactive machine to increase the safety standards of roads. Within the ten years of the idea of implementing the AES, it would seem ironic Najib’s administration had failed to commend a detailed research analysis of the weaknesses of such system that outweighed the benefits of AES.
As a Prime Minister and a leader of a nation, his vacillitating decisions mirror his disability as an incompetent and weak leader who holds the faith and belief of 28 million citizens of Malaysia. He has not only succesfully rocketed the nations’ debt to 73.4 percent in last five years, Najib has also has managed to escort Malaysia to the top of the corruption ranks and displaced the faith and belief of Malaysians against a government. His empty promise to remove the bumiputera quota echoes his distrust against the skills and abilities of the Malays as well as it continuously sows disatisfaction amongst other races in Malaysia.
The only transformation accomplished by Najib is turning Malaysia into an international joke. Where once Malaysia was filled with potential and rich with natural and human resources is now a source of critical brain drain and corruption. Unless Najib wishes a transformed developed Malaysia to realize, it is nothing but a phantom wish negated by his own undoing.
These continuous back pedaling is also a show of desperation. A desperation to cling onto whatever power Najib has left. As per the words of Aung San Suu Kyi;
“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”
 The Star, PM: Public service new remuneration scheme to be reviewed, 12 Januari 2012, http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/1/12/nation/20120112201750&sec=nation
 NST, Najib Unveils 20 ETP Projects, 3 Economic Corridors Worth RM26.09bln, 16 November 2012, http://www.nst.com.my/latest/najib-unveils-20-etp-projects-3-economic-corridors-worth-rm26-09bln 1.172155#ixzz2GnUdTYng
Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU – Political Studies for Change，政改研究所) merupakan sebuah pusat kajian yang baru dan kritikal. KPRU ditubuhkan pada era pasca 8 Mac dengan tujuan membawa idea perubahan kepada warga Malaysia melalui kajian dan sesi dialog.
KPRU memberikan fokus kepada kajian terhadap bidang ekonomi politik dan sektor strategik yang dapat membawa impak jangka masa panjang kepada masyarakat. Dengan penerapan idea baru dan interaksi dengan pelbagai pihak berkepentingan, kajian KPRU diyakini akan membawa pemikiran dan wacana segar untuk menghadapi cabaran negara dalam dekad yang akan datang.