Barisan Government will topple in the next general election if Prime Minister and UMNO President Datuk Seri Najib did not resign. Furthermore, if Pakatan took over the federal government after defeating Barisan, Najib and former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir will be arrested. And therefore, Najib has to resign now if public confidence in the Barisan government is to be restored. These are some of the viewpoints raised by former Information Minister Zainuddin in his recent article.
In recent months, Tun Dr Mahathir has launched a relentless attack on Najib and wanted him to resign without dragging down Barisan. Part of his reason was Najib rejected his crooked bridge project but later, he changed and said 1MDB was the main issue. There has been speculation that Dr Mahathir wants to make use of his remaining influence in UMNO to prop up his son, the Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz, so that he can be promoted to the central leadership and then vice president, deputy president and deputy prime minister.
Those well-versed with UMNO politics said that as Najib is still the UMNO leader, it would still take some time before he steps down. And even if Najib is no more the president, according to UMNO constitution, deputy president Muhyiddin will take over the president and prime ministerâ€™s position while the post of deputy prime minister would be taken over by one of the three vice presidents. Therefore, Mukhriz has no chance to go up so soon at all.
Dr Mahathir has written articles attacking Najib in recent months. People may believe that Najibâ€™s position is unstable in UMNO as well as in Barisan. However, based on information from many quarters, Najibâ€™s current position is solid, not only in UMNO but also in Barisan. More and more ministers and central committee members have openly pledged their support of Najibâ€™s leadership while the 13 component parties have also pledged their backing. Dr Mahathir on the other hand is growing weaker for even he himself admitted he is fighting a lonely battle.
Najib will only step down if Barisan is defeated by Pakatan in the general elections, resulting in a change of government. Dr Mahathir said Najib had too many issues which could lead to Barisanâ€™s defeat in the next elections. And he explained that he gave his advice to Najib because he did not want to see Barisan defeated in the next polls.
Will Barisan be toppled in the next elections? This may be just the view of Dr Mahathir. Currently, Pakatan partners are also ensnared by many thorny issues. PAS President Hadi Awang is clamoring for the setting up of an Islamic state and enforcement of the hudud law. This has made the non-Muslim community uncomfortable. DAP is trying hard to sever its links with PAS, especially with Hadi because it doesnâ€™t want to be accused by MCA and Gerakan for â€œdressing upâ€ PAS.
Pakatan is shaky as the three partners refuse to give way and PAS has become a nightmare to non-Muslims. As such, Pakatanâ€™s objective of changing the government is none too easy. Dr Mahathir sometimes attacks Najibâ€™s policy measures and sometimes he says if Najib didnâ€™t resign, Barisan will be defeated in the next elections.
When Dr Mahathir, as the former prime minister, refused to give his blessings to the current prime minister, people may think that he either has an important agenda or he is an egocentric. Otherwise, why should he keep firing at Najib and destroy his noble image as a party veteran?
The Barisan government has incurred resentment especially of the middle and lower-income group with the implementation of GST. Prices on most consumer goods have risen and many consumers find it hard to bear.
The Auditor-Generalâ€™s report has also exposed the many problems of 1MDB. When Najib and his Cabinet ministers were busy answering questions and counter-attacking Pakatan as well as defusing the row over the murdered Mongolian girl, Dr Mahathir demanded open explanations on these issues from Najib and this has exerted pressure on Barisan, resulting in the strong reaction from Najib supporters.
Thus, Prime Minister Najib went on TV3 and replied and clarified all the issues raised. However, Dr Mahathir was still not happy and insisted that Najib must step down or otherwise, Barisan would be dragged down. The situation has worsened to such an extent that it is testing Najibâ€™s tolerance. Some said Najib will not tolerate any longer.
How true! The Kedah state government under Mukhriz was attacked by state assemblyman Ahmad Lebai Sudin asking Menteri Besar Mukhriz to resign for not giving his support to Najib. Some people said this was Najibâ€™s first salvo and only a prelude to a more interesting show.
Ahmadâ€™s demand for Mukhrizâ€™s resignation was only testing the water. If Mukhriz failed to declare his support for Najib for the larger interest of the party, Kedah may see a political earthquake with Mukhriz going down with a vote of no confidence.
Dr Mahathir is no more in power and his supporters have either retired or shifted their allegiance. Maybe there are still some veterans who support Dr Mahathir but they are fading. As such, he would be difficult to get support from top UMNO leadership.
Najib has been tolerant and kept his silence earlier not because he was a coward but because Dr Mahathir had promoted Najib to be the Deputy Prime Minister before he stepped down. He was just being grateful. However, with the relentless attack which has endangered his leadership position in UMNO, Najib will certainly fight back as his bottom-line has been breached. The call by an UMNO state assemblyman for his son to resign as Menteri Besar was the tactic by Najib supporters. Looking at it now, it is a troubling time for Dr Mahathir and his son Mukhriz. Letâ€™s see how the father and son team defuse retaliation by Najibâ€™s camp!-Written by Pan Jun Sheng/Oriental Daily