Where art thou, Najib?

Convent Girl

Ex-Convent Girl

In our 56 years since independence we have seen some pretty interesting characters presiding over our nation as Prime Minister.

The most notorious must surely be Dr Mahathir Mohamad who ruled with an iron fist and caustic tongue. He was pushy and hated but feared. A control freak he dictated everything down to where and what trees to grow in downtown Kuala Lumpur. He was ambitious in all this endeavours, whether it was building the tallest skyscraper or striving to make Satay Ria an international franchise. While one became a monumental success, the other died a blistering death. Undaunted, he forged ahead thick-skinned, stifling the media, suffocating his opponents with the ISA and ruffling the feathers of foreign leaders when he wore the label ‘recalcitrant’ like a proud badge of honour on his chest.

Slipping in dreamily as successor was Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Pak Lah). A nice chap who slept on the job… literally. How were we to know he suffered from sleep apnea? He tried to curb corruption but being too tired, too submissive and too liberal (in comparison to the tyrant before him), he was done away with as quietly as he came onboard.

Bravely stepping up to the challenge of whipping the nation out of its stupor was Najib Tun Razak. His job wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. Anwar was on the loose again, re-energised by the success of the 2008 elections.

It was a golden opportunity for Najib to show us what he was made of. After all, after Pak Lah, how could he possibly not shine? Well he hasn’t. He has just gone AWOL.

We first noticed this with the Allah issue. As it raged with fury all around us, everybody who was anybody had an opinion that they either vented about in social media or shouted about at political gatherings. Najib ‘tackled’ the issue by taking up a silent vigil. He also developed a hearing impairment, turning a deaf ear to the insensitive rantings and ravings of the manic Ibrahim Ali of Perkasa and lost himself instead in the flights and fancies of his wife.

Prices shot up as subsidies were lifted and electricity tariffs, raised. We waited anxiously for Najib to address the nation. Instead of taking a deep breath and facing the firing squad with some semblance of dignity, Najib stepped cautiously out of his long silence and offered ‘kangkung’ as the nation’s new staple diet. Seriously, was he not advised by his PR counsel that this was the last thing he should say? So blown out of proportion did this statement become that it made international headlines and caused a flurry of embarrassing jokes that ring in our ears to this day.

The hardest to swallow (apart from the kangkung) is Najib’s no-show when the MH370 went missing. Besides that singular sombre speech he gave, we have not seen Najib again. Hishammuddin Hussein is the man we see, day after painstaking day, taking tough questions and doing his best to remain calm and composed when so many are hurling (sometimes unfair) accusations at Malaysia’s handling of the situation. Obama addresses the world. And so does Tony Abbott. But…

Where art thou, Najib? Christiane Amanpour gives Anwar, your nemesis, 10 minutes to slander your administration while you stay mum. Family members of the missing crew and passengers are tearing their hair out in anguish, and you stay mum. The country is hurtling down a dangerous path of uncertainty, unhappiness and general dissatisfaction with your administration and yes… you stay mum through it all.

While we don’t want a tyrant like Dr Mahathir or a sleeping beauty like Pak Lah, we don’t want a convicted felon either to govern this nation from the hot seat of Putrajaya.

Get a team of advisers that understand the nation’s issues and are media-savvy. Swallow your pride and listen to the right people. Your current lot are obviously way off the mark as is so evident to Malaysians.

Come on Najib, stand up and fight for this nation like a man. Clean up your house… end corruption… touch base with your people. Speak up and speak loud. Start running the nation instead of running from it.