Monday, November 28, 2016

Najib’s secret weapon - the mute Malaysians

 Mariam Mokhtar     Published     Updated

COMMENT The headline in The Sunday Star screams, ‘Stronger now for the next polls’. Has Najib Abdul Razak not heard the expression, ‘Pride cometh before a fall’?

He has two powerful weapons. It is for Malaysians to destroy them.

Does one measure political strength by the ability to jail the leader of the Bersih movement, Maria Chin Abdullah? The 60-year-old mother of three was detained in a police raid, and placed in solitary confinement, on the eve of the Bersih 5 march. This is the power Najib gloats about, in his futile attempt to demoralise pro-democracy rally-goers.

Contrast the treatment accorded to the son of the vainglorious MP, Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, who allegedly rioted in the parliament compound. The police pleaded with him to give himself up. No black marias. No all-points bulletin issued. No crack police team sent to apprehend the Umno Baru thugs.

This is the Umno Baru which festers under Najib’s rule; boorish, ill-mannered and lacking morals. Young Umno Baru Malays who have no respect for the institutions of parliament.

They do things differently in Umno Baru. By their definition, their measure of ‘strength’ is the ability to arrest cartoonist Zunar, as he opened his exhibition in Penang. His work was thrashed by thugs, from Umno Baru. Apparently the same gang which stormed the Penang state assembly in 2014.

Najib’s strength is shown by the arrest of student leaders, with vice-chancellors suspending their students for their involvement in the Tangkap MO1 protest, or for joining Bersih.

The hypocrisy of it all. Najib villifies students, but as a university undergraduate, Najib was said to be involved in Malaysian student organisations in England.

Apart from allegedly using the state machinery, like the inspector-general of police (IGP), the civil service and the judiciary, to do his bidding, Najib has one other secret weapon to control Muslims, in particular the Malays. That secret weapon is the PAS president, Hadi Awang.

When Najib has bad news to hide, Hadi’s hudud bill is used to maximum effect. Last week, the bad news was Maria’s detention.

Najib employs Hadi’s islamic credentials to put the fear of God in Malays. Hadi does have his uses after all.

Remember Najib’s last scare, in May? The Wall Street Journal revealed that Good Star Limited was owned by Jho Low. Several hundred millions of ringgits of taxpayer’s money had been sent to Good Star, and then redirected to Najib’s personal account.

The distraction was provided by Hadi’s hudud bill, when Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said moved the bill from the bottom of the list to the top of the pile.

With her legal and ministerial background, Azalina should have known that this bill goes against the Federal Constitution.

Instead of standing up against the male bullies in parliament, she did as they bade her.

Social media is perhaps the only place Malaysians can voice their frustrations easily. When the nation vented their outrage against the hudud bill on social media, Azalina performed a perfect U-turn. She then claimed that the PM and DPM had ordered her to push forward the bill.

A nation cannot be governed by three sets of laws

Any fool knows that a nation cannot be ruled by three sets of laws. Civil law, syariah law and one for the élite.

Azalina has now been appointed as the Mentor Minister for Universiti Malaya. This does not bode well for the students.

The Sunday Star’s photo of Najib looking smug and contented on his Chesterfield sofa, talking about humility does not hide his insecurities and fear from the rakyat.

Najib told The Star that former Singapore PM Lee Kuan Yew confided that, “...Mahathir was like a heavyweight boxer, who keeps punching until he wears you out... unless he achieves absolute control, he’s not going to stop...”

Najib does not realise that he is also describing himself.

Najib claimed that his political career had blossomed from the time he became an MP, as a 23-year-old, then a menteri besar at 29, and that he lived with two generations of Umno Baru leaders.

What good is a career politician who knows nothing about the suffering of the ordinary rakyat? Look at the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), which is losing several millions of ringgits allegedly because of mismanagement. Do the Felda settlers realise that Najib’s hand-picked chairperson was once accused of money politics? Crime does pay, as Isa Abdul Samad has been awarded a fellowship from Cambridge University.

Najib’s ‘strength’ comes from threatening civil servants who join Bersih, that their employment will be terminated or their wages docked.

As more Malays wake up from their slumber, Najib will collude with Hadi, and continue to use Islam as the proverbial whip.

Muslims are afraid to speak out, with the millstone of Islam weighing them down. Umno Baru hopes to be returned to power, but they need Hadi’s help.

The hudud bill, in Kelantan, is the price Umno Baru must pay for this help; but be warned, hudud is like a cancer, if not excised, it will spread throughout the country. The ‘You help me, I help you’ syndrome is alive and thriving in Kelantan.

Najib may think he is strong because the majority of Malays are in denial about Umno Baru. Their silence is Najib’s best weapon.

If there were no money politics, Najib would lose his deposit in the general election, and the party he leads would be kicked into oblivion.

Najib’s power is defined by the acronym ‘ABC’. He is scared of ‘Aunties’ (Maria), ‘Balloons’ (Bilqis Hijjas) and ‘Cartoonists’ (Zunar).

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO). Blog, Twitter.

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