Not a nice place for Najib up there

By Zainal Epi, Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR Najib Tun Razak can only shake his head in dismay as the reports and briefings all paint a very bleak future for the Barisan Nasional.

The message is depressingly the same: in the next polls bout, his ruling coalition stands little chance of regaining the states lost to Pakatan Rakyat. Worse still, the opposition may make new gains in several states.

The prime minister and BN supremo is in a pickle: how to stem the tide? How to rally the disgruntled people to his cause? His pet projects lie virtually in tatters, his party members are ripping each other apart, his coalition partners are tearing into each other, while his political foes are growing stronger by the day.

The situation is so bad that some opposition leaders believe that Najib may resort to extreme measures to stop the deepening rot – exploit every issue, create a climate of fear, push the country to the brink and then invoke the draconian Internal Security Act.

The reasoning is that with all his opponents in Kamunting, he may entertain hopes that he can go to the polls playing the role of a saviour. The bad guys are not around to spoil his party. Only the good guys – him and his fellow dudes – are left and people will have no choice but to play along.

But political observers do not think Najib will turn into a desperado simply because the crude antics may backfire. People may choose to stay home.

Najib is left with one window of opportunity – the Sarawak election. A convincing victory over there will throw a lifeline to his sinking sampan. But the outlook is not so rosy. When Sibu fell in the recent battle, it clouded the prospects of the BN. Then there is Taib Mahmud, the White Rajah of Sarawak.

A millstone

The chief minister is a millstone around Najib’s neck. BN leaders find it hard to deal with this man who has been around for nearly 30 years. He throttled the state and “robbed” it of its fabulous wealth. He has overstayed his welcome and there are now signs that he is losing his grip. The coming state election may well see Taib and Najib’s doom.

Many politicians in Kuala Lumpur predict that the downfall of Sarawak BN will trigger a domino effect. Sabah will fall and so will the other states in the peninsula when the next general election is called. This is a scary fate for Najib.

Najib knows he needs to act fast. His sampan is leaking badly. The “rats” are deserting him. He is the only one putting his oars to troubled waters. There is little hope he can reach shore safely. All around him the storm is howling mad.

The MCA has recently whipped up a maelstrom of anger when it treaded on sensitive ground. It aroused the ire of Perkasa and many Umno leaders. It looked as if they were ready to start a civil strife. The venomous atmosphere is what Najib least needed at a time when he is trying to regain the trust of the voters.

Najib sorely needs the Chinese vote bank to stay intact. Problem is he is courting the Chinese at the expense of the Malay voters and at the same time antagonising Umno members. His efforts at fence-mending in the BN may be fruitless judging by the reports on his table. They all point to one incontrovertible conclusion: the Chinese are staying away from BN.