Polls date: Is Najib dancing in the dark?

The prime minister is playing a guessing game on the 13th general election but that may not be a good idea.

Selena Tay, Free Malaysia Today

Due to Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal of the sodomy charge, it is back to the drawing board for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to fix the ever-elusive date for the 13th general election.

There is a proverb that says “he who hesitates is lost”. Najib is not really lost in that sense but again this highlights his indecisiveness for all to see. He should have called for the polls in 2010, but then he was hesitant and now the opposition Pakatan Rakyat has gained a slight upperhand and he is left cracking his head as he mulls over night and day when to call for the polls.

He even had ample time to call for the polls last year before the Bersih 2.0 rally in July, but again somehow he stumbled. Now the general election date seems to be like the Holy Grail and this is all due to his own doing. There is a Chinese proverb which says “don’t do stupid things to inconvenience oneself” and this applies perfectly to Najib.

If Najib drags on, he might just wake up one day to find that it is already the full term – April 28, 2013 (date of commencement of the 12th Parliament session) – by which time the polls must be held by June 28, June 2013 (two months from the dissolution of Parliament).

At this point in time he strategically has to call for the general election before September this year – that is when Umno will be having its own party elections – so that full attention can be given to the nation’s 13th general election which BN has acknowledged to be the “mother of all battles”.

Najib is dazed and confused now in regard to choosing the polls date as there is also the additional presurre piled on him by the eurozone economic crisis besides many hot local issues, a few of them are:

Cattle-condo saga – he should take the bull by the horns and put his foot down firmly on this issue to show that he is serious in combating ills such as cronyism, corruption and misappropriation of funds. Instead he is still keeping an “elegant silence”.

Ultra-Malay NGOs – his association with and endorsement of them contradicts his 1Malaysia stand, especially when one of these NGOs has voiced its disapproval that the “Interlok” novel will no longer be used in the school syllabus. This issue has the potential to alienate the Indian voters.

University and University Colleges Act (UUCA) – he has said that he wants to repeal the Act but at the same time the Barisan Nasional federal government is appealing against the High Court’s decision that says Section 15 of the UUCA is unconstitutional in a landmark ruling won by four students who participated in the campaign activities of the Hulu Selangor by-election in April 2010. Najib’s actions again contradicts his words.

Peaceful Assembly Act – this bill was bulldozed through Parliament with much haste and speed.

Minimum wage – no news of this despite the fact that real income has only grown by 2.6 percent since 1998. Has this matter fallen into the pit of oblivion with the global economic downturn looming on the horizon?

Bus issue – let us hope that the RM400 million that Najib has announced as financial aid to the ailing bus companies will be disbursed quickly as many thousands of commuters who depend on the bus as their only mode of transport are suffering.

Umno in disarray?

From the above, it can be seen clearly that Najib lacks the decision-making and execution skills needed in a good statesman. First and foremost, he must tackle corruption and cronyism instead of only talking about it. He has to weed out those in his own camp who are corrupted instead of remaining silent about their misdeeds.

Only then can he dissolve Parliament and not before that. He has even mocked the rakyat by saying that guessing the date of the general election is a favourite national pastime!

He has delayed too long and now it is “Advantage Pakatan” as they say in the game of tennis. He has made unforced errors (the cattle scandal is only one of them), double-faulted on his serve (presenting new draconian bills to be passed) besides a few foot faults (flip-flops pertaining to the New Economic Model with Part Two vanished into oblivion and the omission of the Equal Opportunities Commission).

Another proverb says “strike while the iron is hot” and Najib should have called for the polls when PKR was having its own party polls in October and November 2010 – lots of time for Najib to strike but he did not and thus has missed a golden opportunity to strike when the enemy is in disarray.