A Difficult Beginning For Najib Razak
After the departure of Pak Lah, many people in BN, especially UMNO, may be relieved that the new man, Najib Razak, would restore the coalition to its glory days of not too long ago.
Whether Najib had a hand in the disastrous and illegal political coup in Perak, the perception is that the fiasco was engineered by him.
The entrapment of PKR state legislators by the MACC was seemingly used as political blackmail to get the politicians to crossover to escape criminal punishment. The trial is already yet another sham with the key witness turning 180 degrees from his original complaint to the anti-corruption body when it is an offence to make false reports to the authorities.
The frustrated legislator from DAP probably needed less prodding but received the most public opprobrium with a tomb of her “erected” online and people burning “money for the dead” for her in real life.
Even the Perak Royal House was allegedly not spared from the arm-twisting and “blackmail politics (politik ugutan)” of BN. In an unprecedented move, the Perak Sultan sacked the Menteri Besar when, by convention say some lawyers, the Menteri Besar could only be removed by a no-confidence vote in the House. Other lawyers, like our Attorney-General, disagreed and took the view that the sacking was completely legal.
There were more legal acrobatics by our BN government. For the first time in history, the decision of a state assembly was questioned by the court and moreover, overturned. This opened the floodgates for politicians to “petition” to the courts if they are unhappy with the decisions of the House, as Gobind Singh, MP for Puchong and son of Karpal Singh, has done with his suspension from Parliament.
In the dark pre-Internet ages, perhaps Barisan would have gotten away with such high-handedness; like locking Joseph Pairin out of the state assembly when he won the 1994 Sabah state election by a narrow margin. Pairin reportedly waited in his car outside and went without shaving for days.
Unfortunately, it is 2009. Photos of the Speaker dragged out by plainclothes policemen were distributed all over the Internet. So were photos of the overboard police presence and senseless arrests of almost all and sundry who attempted to enter the House when it reconvened. Even those with invitations like Lim Kit Siang were refused entry. Others were dragged away as police enforced a court order barring the public from the vicinity of the House.
Even before the nasty aftertaste of the Perak coup has died down and our dear Prime Minister became BN chief for Selangor, an unknown and relatively insignificant political aide, Teoh Beng Hock, died under MACC custody. The silence of the MCA, which is still embroiled in a bitter power struggle, is telling of its priorities: surely not the interests of the Chinese or even Malaysians. The so-called inquest looked more like a character assassination of Teoh with the MACC lawyers bringing up his income, savings, gender of his housemates, and the police questioning the family to suggest that Teoh was unbalanced and suicidal. Until the arrival of Dr Pornthip, the renowned Thai pathologist, pathologists who testified were still dilly-dallying and going with, in my view, the “script” of an amateurish cover-up.
Just when Najib thought his troubles would end, the Altantuya haunt returned. Bala, the private investigator who retracted his statutory declaration the day after he went public, reappeared with more damaging revelations.
Will Malaysians continue to look the other way, look after their rice bowls and vote BN? It depends, I guess, to some extent how superstitious you are. Whether you think this PM has good “feng shui” (remember elected representatives dropping dead everywhere and so often) to lead our nation to continued peace and prosperity. Or on a more pragmatic side, where will his policies lead us and whether they are relevant in the 21st century.