Surviving a no-faith vote will strengthen Najib


Avoiding the motion in Parliament makes the PM look weak when he must appear confident

Scott Ng, Free Malaysia Today

Mahathir Mohamad seems to be running out of steam. With his plans thwarted or blocked, it seems like his best weapons have failed against the machinations of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who stubbornly clings to power despite widespread unrest and low approval ratings.

With his man Khairuddin Abu Hassan behind bars, Mahathir has expressed doubt that the international investigations on Najib and 1MDB will bear fruit and has gone back to calling for a no-confidence vote in Parliament. His voice joins that of the Opposition even as insiders whisper that there is no way a no-confidence vote could gain the kind of support it would need to oust Najib.

Mahathir himself has claimed that all the BN MPs have been bought off by the Prime Minister, and as if that isn’t discouraging enough, the Speaker has proclaimed that there are no provisions for a no-confidence motion in Parliament. Considerable roadblocks indeed, and this places the anti-Najib forces in a tight spot strategically.

However, the key to all this is Najib Razak himself. Najib, despite his damaged brand, is still standing tall and the Umno leadership has so far shown no inclination to remove him from the party’s presidency, making his position as Prime Minister secure on that end. He has managed to bring about a closing of the ranks fairly successfully, although Umno members at the grassroots are beginning to chafe under his new approach.

Najib needs to allow the no-confidence motion. He needs to rise up to the challenge, precisely because everyone expects him to run and hide behind his ministers and the public institutions. He needs to demonstrate that he is still the Prime Minister though battered and bruised, and to do that he must take this head on.