Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Is Najib politically weak?

Is PM Najib Razak as politically weak as Bakri Musa reckons he (Najib) is?

Bakri Musa in his post at Malaysian-Today titled Devolution and the rise of Adenan Satem believes Najib is, weak that is, but I reckon Bakri gave far too much credit to Adenan Satem.

Bakri Musa shows this by the following (I've just chosen 3 of his points to debate over, with the rest to be discussed in another post):

(i) He reckons Najib's weakness has been caused by ineptness and insensitivity in dealing with state leaders, such as Adenan Satem, as indicated by even the absence of having a Department of Iban studies in a Malaysian university.

Was such a topic available in any Malaysian university during Mahathir's time?

I reckon Bakri Musa shouldn't allow his personal desire, such as the academic pomposity of having an Iban Studies Department in one of our uni, to cloud his judgement, wakakaka.

(ii) Bakri Musa also believes Najib's lack of sensitivity with the Eastern States, especially a non-UMNO controlled state like Sarawak, has resulted in not having a Sarawakian on the Board of Petronas?

Well, was such a person on the Petronas Board during Mahathir's time?

Why then is Adenan Satem now imposing various restrictions on Petronas management, administration and recruitment with regards to Peninsular Malaysians serving in Petronas Sarawak?

Firstly, we need to to recall his family relationship with the 'King' of Sarawak, namely its governor Taib Mahmud, the real power behind the CM, who had allowed/appointed Adenan to be CM.

So whatever Adenan might have said, you can bet your bottom dollar those have been on the directions or/and with the approval of Mahmud Taib.

And strangely, Bakri Musa himself gave away the real secret in saying Adenan has acted with far greater autonomy than Taib, "... declaring English to be on par with Malay in schools and the state’s administration, in defiance of federal policies. The surprise is the silence of UMNO chauvinists and Malay language nationalists. That can only happen with specific directives from Najib."

Indeed, such utterances could only have been done with the approval of both Taib and Najib, who are the real political powers in Sarawak and Malaysia respectively.

In fact, Sarawak in having a member on Petronas Board, as has Sabah, has been with the quite recent approval of Najib. No doubt Naib has to placate a more independent-minded East Malaysian states who were both somewhat dissatisfied with Mahathir's 22-year draconian rule. Najib has to no ameliorate and mollify them, in other words, make up for Mahathir's arrogance, disdain and big-brother attitude towards those states.

On the Petronas issue, there was also another unpleasant falling out between Najib and Mahathir when the former appointed a Chinese Muslim, Mohd Omar, Najib's personal matey, to the Petronas Board very much against the wishes of anti-Chinese Mahathir.

By now we should know how Najib operates. He is the exact opposite of bullying blustering bulldozing anti-Chinese Mahathir. Najib uses others to be his surrogates or indirect reps of his policies as if to 'test the waters', in other words, Adenan has been used as his voice for the enhanced use of English and/or even the recognition of the Chinese Independent Board's examination certificate of UEC, the latter strongly opposed by Mahathir.

The sad fact of our very racist-conscious nation is that Najib cannot be personally seen as being too liberal or too 'pro-Chinese' as he was accused of by Mahathir, or he (Najib) would lose his power base, that of Heartland Malays and conservative UMNO divisional leaders.

Wasn't it Mahathir who condemned Najib after the 2013 general election that he (Ah Jib Gor) wasted too much time and money in trying to win the Chinese vote when he should have spent all that time and money focusing on the Malays instead?

Oh BTW, an important point to note, there are now more than 3,880 Sarawakians out of the 5,190 Petronas employees in the State, whilst about 1,000 Sarawakians work in Petronas outside the State. These stats prove that Petronas has hardly been discriminating against Sarawakians, so Adenan's mucho noise has been more propaganda for home consumption that anything.

(iii) Najib is silent about the Sarawakian government's prohibition of UMNO operating there.

Did such a Sarawakian prohibition of UMNO exist during Mahathir's time?

Dr Andrew Harding and Dr James Chin informed us via their book '50 Years of Malaysia: Federalism Revisited' that Taib Mahmud had a WRITTEN agreement with Mahathir (not Najib or AAB or Hussein Onn) not to set UMNO up in Sarawak as long as they are in power, and remember, Taib is still in power, as the Sarawak governor and its de facto CM.

Adenan for all his pompous popular publicity and blustering is merely but a mere machai or a creature of Taib, thus in Adenan's 1st week as CM it's hardly surprising he merely re-announced the Taib-Mahathir written agreement, perhaps to remind new PM Najib.

Najib's character is true to state when he appears (or pretends) to be easy-going and accepts (or pretends to accept, or considers it not sufficiently important to quarrel with Adenan over) the Taib-Mahathir agreement.

Who knows if he will change that eventually. So Bakri Musa's analysis has been terribly faulty on this issue. Or has he been influenced by Mahathir's vociferous rant at Najib after the recent Sarawakian state elections, that “Najib has no reason to be happy. What the Sarawak BN achieved is to weaken the authority of the central government which Najib leads. He is now going to be even more dependent on the support of Sarawak than before. Already, he has given in to all Sarawak’s demand. Now more than ever Najib will have to pander to the demands of Sarawak. In fact, Najib has been doing just that. Anything that Sarawak asks for, Sarawak will get. The cry of Sarawak for the Sarawakians has become louder.”

But that's Mahathir, maybe still wanting to treat Sarawak as one of the minor states in Peninsular?

One more thing that we need to remember is that Adenan Satem is what Westerners would term a 'lame duck' CM, someone who actually has far less influence or say than he should have. He is a 'lame duck' because he had announced his intention to retire after one term.

Don't ever forget Taib Mahmud lurking powerfully in the shadow. Taib will be the one who selects the next CM of Sarawak.

Anyway, my analysis is at odds with Bakri Musa, We should not under-estimate Najib Razak. He may be seen as lackadaisical and laid-back, but in reality is like a reticulated 15 feet long hungry python who watches with his beady eyes (seemingly lazily or sleepily as pythons have been seen to do) but who waits patiently to strike, strangulate and swallow his prey.


  1. You are misinformed.

    Omar Mustapha Ong is a Bumiputra Malay and he has been rapidly climbing the stratospheric heights of the Establishment on that basis.

    The main objection to him on the PETRONAS board was him being a Political Appointee by Najib. Petronas' board had been independent of direct political control since its inception. The government is represented on its board by Senior Treasury and Civil Service officers.

    Omar Mustapha Ong was appointed to Petronas' board age 39. I suppose he is some kind of corporate genius, just like ahem...Jho Low....

    1. yes, Omar Ong is a constitutional Malay/bumi. Please check on his father's conversion. This is NOT to besmirch or belittle him. I only mentioned it because Mahathir was against him. He is a businessman so why couldn't be on the board? Did it have to eb on Mahathir's approval?

      To suggest Petronas Board is independent of political oversight and control in this country is a laugh. How do you think Petronas came into being?

    2. As Adenan is the shadowy play of Taib, ahjibgor is that proverbial frontman of that looming 15ton hippo, wakakaka...

  2. If you do not know the difference between political oversight and direct political control , you are not qualified to debate this subject.

    The Government of Malaysia is the Sole Shareholder of PETRONAS, of course it exercises oversight.

    1. there is a connection between political oversight and political control - the second is its degree. It coudl be broad like for example,"I want a twin tower which is tallest in the world" or "Make sure 250 billion is given to the govt as taxes" or it could be micro-control like "I want you to tell me hat is the revenue for today"

      To suggest there is no connection between oversight and control bespeaks your shameful ignorance