Najib hides from Penanti decision, all eyes on Perak

(Suara Keadilan) – It looks like Prime Minister Najib Razak has backed away from another tough political decision – to contest the Penanti state seat or not!

According to Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, the Umno political bureau did not discuss the matter on Monday even though Najib himself had said the bureau – which he chairs – would decide when it next met.

Said Muhyiddin: “Why should we tell? We didn’t discuss about it. We discussed several subjects but not on that.”

Part of a bigger political ploy

This is also the second time that Najib has postponed the bureau’s meeting. It was initially due to meet  Thursday last week.

Having lost in four of the past five by-elections, Najib’s reluctance to field a candidate in Penanti, part of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s Permatang Pauh stronghold, is understandable.

Although he has cited “unnecessary costs” as a reason against contesting, political watchers believe he is unwilling to suffer the political consequence of yet another electoral loss in a Malay heartland constituency.

Unfortunately for him, party rank and file including his mentor – former premier Mahathir Mohamad – view a walkover as a great shame for the once-mighty Umno. They have urged him to be braver and take Penanti by the horns.

Some political analysts also believe that Najib’s aversion for Penanti was part of a bigger ploy to resist calling for state-wide polls in Perak.

The situation in the northwestern state is near boiling point. Three-quarters of the Perak people want fresh election to re-determine their state government.

Although it has been three months, it is clear they have not accepted the Umno-BN line-up led by Zambry Kadir, pushed by Najib and agreed to by the Perak Sultan.

The prime minister was responsible for launching the February power grab that toppled the Pakatan Rakyat administration led by popular PAS leader Nizar Jamaluddin.

Najib is expected to keep resorting to all ways and means – fair and foul – to cling to power in Perak. Walking away from Penanti – citing unnecessary costs – will substantiate his reasons for ignoring the peoples’ wishes in Perak. Or so he believes.