Najib’s new deal

By Leslie Lau (The Malaysian Insider)

KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak will spend the better part of his first 100 days as Malaysia’s sixth prime minister laying down the foundations of his administration.

The Najib administration is planning to announce as many policy moves as possible in its first days in power in an attempt to blunt the hard criticisms which are already mounting from the opposition.

The Malaysian Insider understands that Najib’s team wants to introduce as many measures as possible to set his agenda and win over fence sitters.

It is hoped that the introduction of a slew of policy measures will not only dent opposition attacks but also bring a sense of direction back to the Barisan Nasional government.

Such a strategy takes a leaf out of the famous first 100 days strategy of former United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who used his first days in power to introduce his “New Deal”;

Najib takes power today facing unprecedented criticisms from the public as well as from the Pakatan Rakyat.

The opposition continues trying to tie him to the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian ex-lover of his close associate Abdul Razak Baginda.

Malaysia is only just beginning to experience the worst of a global economic recession as Najib takes power.

The country also continues to face tension over race and religious relations.

Today, Najib will begin his first day in power with a speech to state that Malaysia is home to all.

He also plans to make symbolic visits to Brickfields, Chinatown and Kampung Baru.

The visits are gestures to show that his government will take care of all the races.

Najib is also expected to announce his Cabinet line-up soon after next week’s three by-elections.

The Cabinet is expected to consist of some 20 portfolios, which will be a leaner, meaner version of the current line-up of more than 30 ministers.

After his new Cabinet is formed, Najib’s administration will be expected to embark on making a slew of policy announcements to take advantage of the small window of opportunity he will have as a new leader to push through his agenda.