Najib is being attacked only because he is at his most vulnerable.
For Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir to express an opinion about Najib Tun Razak and to act concerned for the hardship of the rakyat is quite unprecedented.
Perhaps Mukhriz should be given his own comedy show with his father former PM Mahathir Mohamad playing the part of the ventriloquist, and Mukhriz acting the part of the ventriloquist’s dummy, sitting on Mahathir’s lap. The “dialogue” between the two would be most entertaining.
During an interview with last Sunday’s edition of Berita Harian, Mukhriz warned that BN would be defeated in GE14 if it continued to be led by Najib. He blamed the rising cost of living on Najib’s unpopular decisions.
Mukhriz told Berita Harian, “Defeat is a real possibility if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak continues with his present policy of correct but unpopular decisions, especially issues concerning the rising cost of living….If Putrajaya continues to ignore the rakyat’s grouses and complaints, Barisan Nasional will find the 14th general election a tough nut to crack.”
A few days later, before Najib had time to recover from being blamed for the state of the economy, Mukhriz launched another attack.
The pressure piled-on with Mukhriz saying without a hint of irony that corruption and wastage in government spending should be addressed.
He claimed that Najib had failed to strike a balance between taking popular measures and “doing the right thing”. He feared that Najib’s short-term approach would have long-term consequences.
Only the naïve would think that Mukhriz was acting off his own bat. It is obvious that when his own future was jeopardised, Mukhriz’s stand shifted.
For months, if not years, Mukhriz neglected the suffering of Malaysians but almost overnight Mukhriz demanded that steps be taken for urgent action and remedial measures to be engaged to sort out the economy.
Attacking Najib was an indirect way of saying that he was a better leader than Najib.
Does Mukhriz live in a cocoon? Was he unaware that the day before his Berita Harian interview pro-Umno-Baru champions had threatened to unleash violence onto the streets of Malaysia in a re-enactment of May 13?
Mukhriz did not question Najib for failing to censure the people who threatened the peace. He also failed to condemn the IGP who failed to arrest the people inciting violence and spreading fear.
Allegations have recently surfaced that back in 1969 Najib’s father Abdul Razak Hussein acted in collusion with Mahathir to remove Tunku Abdul Rahman from power. Ironically, Najib is today facing that grim reality of a repetition of this coup.
It was not chance which led Mukhriz to forget his father’s role in fomenting dissent.
About seven weeks ago Mahathir turned on the Herald’s editor Father Lawrence Andrew for wanting to “hurt” Muslims. His father’s instigation has been used by extremists to whip up a frenzy of hate against Christians.
Mahathir’s standard operating procedure (SOP) is simple. First, he creates divisions in society with race and religion.
Then, he distracts them from important issues – like the GST and price hikes, and increasing energy bills.
Having paralysed people with fear Mahathir pretends to offer solutions. His son has been instructed to play the moderate role in what is seen as a highly volatile situation. Mukhriz’s concern about the rakyat is neither genuine nor sincere.
The whole carry-on by Mukhriz is a reflection of his father’s true character. Najib is being attacked only because he is at his most vulnerable. Najib’s kangkung faux pas gave Mukhriz the opening to make his “kill”.
Most people will know that Mukhriz is not capable of such protracted thinking. What goes around, comes around. The fate that awaits Najib is the one similar to the ignominious departure of his predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Like a pack of hyenas circling their injured prey and waiting to pounce are Mahathir and his men.
Mukhriz is very vocal against Najib for one simple reason. This is payback time for Najib who insulted Mahathir during the last Umno-Baru internal election.
The anger of the poor Malays and the Muslim population who have genuine concerns about feeding their families or paying for medical help when they are sick have struck fear into Mahathir.
The distractions created by the Allah issue and Najib’s kangkung faux pas will blow over and the rakyat will soon be forced to focus once again on the economy and rising cost of living.
When the GST kicks in next year things will get much worse. Mahathir knows this and has instructed his son to act now.
Any delay may lead to public dissatisfaction and unrest. Mahathir’s living and recurring nightmare is the possibility that Pakatan Rakyat will finally occupy Putrajaya.
Mukhiz’s critique of Najib has little to do with your suffering, the future of the country or Najib’s failure to combat corruption.
This is Mukhriz making sure his father’s unfinished business is continued. Mahathir’s legacy has to flourish at any cost.
Najib, Umno Baru and Mukhriz are all part of the problem but the greater share of the problem lies with you!
If you had a hand in returning Umno Baru to power, especially if you were in the 47% portion of the rakyat who voted for Umno Baru; your reward has been that you will suffer the price hikes, alongside the people who voted for Pakatan.
Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.