Najib’s first 100 days (of inaction)

Tay Tian Yan, Sin Chew Daily

Najib’s first 100 days have just slipped by quietly. There wasn’t a policy report from the government on the occasion of Najib’s first 100 days, nor any announcement made on the plans to be carried out after the first 100 days.

Making a hoohah over the first 100 days is what any newly elected government will do. The goal is to mark up public acceptance and morale while breathing a new lease of life into the fledgling administration.

Of course, there must be some real meat at times, more like a kind of window dressing that has to be done than shunned.

At least members of the public can get a glimpse into which way the government is headed to.

But this time, it is apparently absent.

There are several reasons for this.

The number of parliamentary seats won by BN in the last GE has shrunk; Chinese electorate support was dwindling and Selangor was not won. Such lacklustre performance was way below Najib’s expectations and has dealt a certain blow on the PM.

And the 1Malaysia concept and economic/political transformation programme he was selling hard failed to boost his prospects or be positively received by the voters.

The confidence he showed during the early days of his second term was overly optimistic indeed, as the true tests of his administration prove to be more challenging than anticipated.

With MCA staying out of the Cabinet, the original Cabinet structure has been disrupted. To gain back the support of Chinese voters will be even more taxing than ever.

Because of this, the morale of the ruling team will remain at the “recuperative” stage for some time, and this explains why the government has yet to come up with any major announcements or manoeuvres while the PM himself slips into a very low key, seldom showing up in public.

While undergoing the healing process, the ruling coalition is also trying to explore public acceptance trends, changes in the political climate as well as how it should move on hereafter.

A second factor is that Umno party elections are just around the corner. There is a host of unpredictabilities, particularly in view of the unprecedented direct elections which will see 145,000 casting their ballots instead of just some 2,000 in the past.

Change of guards is very likely to happen given the fact that it will be highly unlikely for anyone to try to sway, or foretell the election outcome.

And this will have a bearing on any future government plans.

Instead of modifying announced plans in the future, why not just wait until the party elections are over before making public any government endeavours?

Sure enough with the undercurrents running wild beneath the surface, certain quarters within the party, especially the conservatives, might prowl on the opportunity to create some issues.

Any plan announced prior to the party elections could become the targets of vicious assaults, which could even turn the table around.

With the conservatives gaining in momentum, it is advisable to keep the tone down, and this explains the inaction of the more pragmatic and moderate factions within the party.

If Najib were to carry out any new and comprehensive projects, he’d better wait until after the October party elections.

The question is, as the government has remained hushed for the past 100 days, the society outside has been in a state of chaos throughout these 100 days.

Over the past few months, serious crimes were on the rise and Malaysians started to feel very insecure.

Racially and religiously sensitive incidents took centre stage one after another, while economic prospects remained listless, growth forecast adjusted downwards, ringgit, commodity prices and consumer confidence suppressed.

Malaysians are awaiting government solutions that will effectively combat crime, mend religious and ethnic rifts and reinvigorate our economy.

Time may not be on Najib’s side. To stay out of the doldrums post-election, Najib must not allow himself to be bogged down by the party elections. He must rush out some truly effective action plans to fix the country’s problems.