Ahmad Said’s T’ganu antics showcase Najib’s shaky hold on power


The short-lived crisis in Terengganu shows Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s support base may not be on solid ground, as the unsettled tectonics of Umno and BN’s internal politics shift with uncertain loyalties and fragile allegiances.

Hazlan Zakaria, The Ant Daily

First Sarawak strongman Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and now former Terengganu menteri besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said — yet again Najib faced difficulties to push the BN old guard warlords from their lofty perch, despite securing their agreement to step down beforehand.

This as he works to try and shore up his support base and phase out the old guards whose non-performance-riddled circumstances belie his self-declared “reform” agenda and need to appear dynamic and successful.

As can be seen, Najib has called in new faces like Kota Belud MP Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, and recycled some old names like former Perlis MB Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim to back his rule.

He even roped in NGO people as placeholders in his cabinet like former Transparency International chief Datuk Paul Low to lend “legitimacy” to the “reform” facade.

Najib had also doled out appointments, specially created posts like special envoys and chairpersons of government GLCs, to entrench new allies and placate old warlords shoved out of the way like former minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

However, it took extreme effort to convince Taib to step down from his Sarawak CM post. Despite having promised Najib that he was going to bow out two years after the last state elections in 2011, the wily PBB strongman stayed on until last February.

However, Taib is said to be still pulling the strings in the East Malaysian state as Governor although his hand-picked successor Tan Sri Adenan Satem has shown glimpses of trying to stamp his authority.

Similarly, difficulties in the move to displace Ahmad, who promised to go one year after GE13, show that Najib’s grasp on power is less sure than his allies are telling people it is.

The situation shows how Najib may not have the juice to be able to call the shots completely, or is weak enough that the old warlords he is replacing with new faces to cement his power, see blood in the water.

If not a major haemorrhage that can allow them to rebel and overthrow him, perhaps just enough blood to keep the sharks, like his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, circling and worrying Najib enough to do more than he perhaps would to placate them.

One must remember that Muhyiddin played the Brutus to Najib’s Cassius in their overthrow of former premier Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, with the deputy PM wielding the first “stab”.

“The president (Najib) is okay,” cajoled friendly voices, soon after the Terengganu spoiler by Ahmad and two of his allies, who announced that they are quitting the party.

This was soon after the former MB resigned as state chief executive to honour his pledge to Najib as the price for his failure to win a convincing BN majority and almost losing the state to PAS with only a two-seat advantage.

But moments after complying, Ahmad then reacted by announcing he will quit Umno on personal grounds.

His personal reason was stated as being Najib’s refusal to allow him to remain in power until May 17, the day of his daughter’s wedding in the MB’s official residence.

But by all readings, it seems like a protest move more than anything else, for what is the connection of his MB post with conducting his daughter’s wedding?

As one observer noted, this is more like Ahmad and his pals trying to “make hay while the sun shines”.

Their last Rat Pack song and dance hurrah before being put to pasture?

While this may speak of danger to Najib’s tenure as Umno president, because the party is the dominant component in the ruling coalition BN, it also threatens his reign as PM.

He certainly has a lot to lose.

Read more at: http://www.theantdaily.com/Main/Ahmad-Said-s-T-ganu-antics-showcase-Najib-s-shaky-hold-on-power