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Najib's digging his own grave

  • Umno leaders were living in their own illusionary world whereby BN was still strongly supported by majority of people. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

By LIM SUE GOAN
Sin Chew Daily

Former PM Najib is fighting back! He denies having stolen from the rakyat and has blamed BN's electoral defeat on PH for creating rumors.

Now that the voters have made the verdict and anything else the ex-PM says will become immaterial.

In fact, the damage suffered by BN/Umno will be deeper if their leaders refuse to truthfully reflect on why they have failed.

From the past fortnight since the BN government was toppled, we can see that life still goes on for most Malaysians. Most of those who have visited Najib at his private residence are Umno members, and the reception he received in Pekan in his weekend homecoming trip was lukewarm at best.

This is not something glamorous for a leader who served as the country's PM for nine years!

When Anwar was sacked by Mahathir in 1998, tens of thousands took to the street in a fiery Reformasi movement.

While we cannot compare what happened two decades ago to what just took place two weeks ago, this differential attitude shows that majority of people no longer trust Najib, and his grassroots power is never as strong as many would have anticipated.

There should be plenty who would rush to his support if the political persecution he claims holds water. In its stead, we only see a handful of comforters, mostly from Umno itself.

From what we understand, Najib's posters were withheld in some places during the election campaign. Some Umno members even stayed away from polling stations or just voted for PH. BN's defeat in its traditional strongholds can be largely attributed to one single man, Najib.

After it has been unveiled that Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor have kept in excess of a billion ringgit of cash and hundreds of designer handbags, there is no question that public faith towards Umno leadership would be further eroded. Umno will have a hard time staging a strong comeback if more revelations are made and the case dragged on for an additional year or two.

We have seen plenty of instances of governments brought down by people over top-level corruption, including Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos' fall in the 1986 "People Power" movement that also saw the rise of Corazon Aquino.

In the 2008 presidential election in Taiwan, the Nationalist Party under Ma Ying-jeou and Vincent Siew clinched a thumping victory over DPP as a result of corruption involving president Chen Shui-bian.

Umno will have to swallow the bitter pill if the party fails to dissociate itself from Najib. Even though Najib has resigned as BN and Umno chief, he is still Pekan divisional chairman, and was still seen officiating the opening of several party branches on Sunday.

Umno's defeat should serve as an important lesson for all.

Local columnist Joe Samad writes that Umno leaders have tried to "feed" party members with contracts, cash, positions and rewards to keep them loyal to party leaders so that no one would take the risk of advising the leadership, including Umno Youth chairman Khairy Jamaluddin.

Najib has claimed that the RM2.6 billion "political donation" was used in the 2013 general elections and distributed to BN component parties and MPs. So, this is one reason BN component parties are afraid to voice up?

Khairy told Channel NewsAsia the "mistake of failing to speak the truth in order to protect Najib is one he will personally have to live with for the rest of his life."

As a matter of fact, not everyone was shying away from speaking the truth. When Muhyiddin Yassin and Shafie Apdal talked about 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion scandal, they were fired by Umno, but Khairy failed to highlight grassroots frustration to Najib.

Party members were afraid to voice up against their leader. They only chanted the "I Love PM" slogan. Critics were punished or charged in court. Umno leaders were living in their own illusionary world whereby BN was still strongly supported by majority of people.

Sadly, in response to Khairy's comments, Najib claimed he was a very open-minded man and party members were free to express their dissatisfaction or dissident views.

In the meantime, BN component parties remained dislodged from reality. MCA Youth continued to defend Najib over the RM2.6 billion scandal during election campaign, arguing that Malaysians' bank accounts were not one cent short if Najib had embezzled RM2.6 billion from taxpayers.

The never-ending destruction wrought by Najib put Umno leaders in utter disorientation. Sabah BN is basically non-existent now following the departure of several component parties, while their counterparts in Sarawak are mulling a new local political alliance so as to stay afloat in the state elections which must be called by 2021.

BN is as good as dead if Umno continues to sleep on the dilemma!

 

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