Zam: Najib going through what Tunku did in 1969


Tunku was a democrat willing to accept reality and finally concede when he realised he had to make way for Abdul Razak, Najib’s father.

Lin KayKay, Free Malaysia Today

Former Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin thinks that the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal is not the only reason that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has lost credibility particularly among Malays.

“His repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA), an issue hotly opposed by the Malays, didn’t bring back Chinese support to the ruling coalition and he even considered abolishing the Sedition Act much to the alarm of the police and Malays.”

Looking back, said Zainuddin, it was not necessary to abolish the ISA and then replace it with a similar Act. “This shows the flip flop nature of his administration.”

On a brighter note, Zainuddin conceded that Najib did come in with a bang, being seen as firm, fierce and brave, although he did not regain the two-thirds majority in Parliament, and he was not consistent earlier in regaining the power that the ruling coalition had lost.

“He even dismissed the last General Election results as a Chinese tsunami but he did not follow up after that with firmness and willingness to handle the suffering in facing challenges although he was sedar (aware),” said Zainuddin.

“There’s a whole host of issues which has led to him facing a similar situation as that which faced Tunku Abdul Rahman in 1969 when the latter had to withdraw upon the advise of the security agencies, high-ranking civil servants and academia,” said the former Information Minister in his latest blog posting. “Also, Tunku did tell us Utusan Melayu journalists, one late night on 18 May 1977, who was the grand puppet master behind his downfall. This was after launching his book, Looking Back.”

“He made it clear that it was not Mahathir Mohamad.”

He added that Tunku did not name the grand puppet master but only mentioned the state that he comes from. “We all knew who he meant.”

Tunku, he stressed, was a democrat and willing to accept reality and finally concede and go when he realised that he had fallen victim to what the Malays say “menciumi api sekam yang membara” (feelings of sadness, nostalgia, revenge that are not visible but burns deep within) and the result was the explosion into the searing Sino-Malay race riots on 13 May, 1969. “At that time, Tunku’s leadership of the party and government was strong and he had considerable support.”

The Malay sentiments, stressed Zainuddin, were not with Tunku and he had lost dignity among them. Tunku did expel people that he was not comfortable with, he recalled.

Finally, reminded Zainuddin, Tunku had to concede and withdraw and give way to his deputy Abdul Razak, Najib’s father. “He did not “Buat Dak Sahaja” (pretend not to know) but withdrew gracefully although he kept feelings of sadness over it until the end of his days.”

Zainuddin was begging to differ with Najib accusing former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of being the grand puppet master working to bring about his downfall. “Najib’s allegations against Mahathir have further served to strengthen the credibility of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) which had reported that billions flowed into his personal accounts.”

Zainuddin raises the concerns in particular of the rural Malay electorate. “The steps that Najib took on the path of reformation was liberalism, a give and take attitude (meaning more give and less take), compromise, and a ‘never mind attitude’, all the characteristics that finally spelt doom for Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister, and his administration.”

Making other comparisons between Najib and Tunku, the thrust of his partly Malay-centric blog posting, Zainuddin said that the former’s loss of credibility began with a chain of events following the repeal of the ISA, attempts to abolish the Sedition Act, his answers on the use of the government jets especially at the time of the great floods in Kelantan last year, the denial by his family on them having any heritage wealth, GST, weak foreign policies, and willingness to compromise with Singapore, among others.

“His management of the information flow was weak for a number of reasons including delays, not being inclusive, not addressing the questions asked, using personalities who were not credible, and a lack of integrity,” said the former Information Minister who had been a journalist in the Malay media for many years. “It’s public knowledge that Najib’s administration has been less than professional in efforts to restore the image of his leadership and government.”

The result, he added, was spectacular failure on all counts.