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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Will Rakyat Reprimand Najib Not To Call For A Snap Election?

By Dr. Dzul

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Member of Parliament for Kuala Selangor.

Last week Najib has warned the Malaysian electorates not to gamble their future voting the opposition in the 13th General Election (GE). Najib and his BN leaders are not making it secret that the GE is going to be held soonest. How soon will have to depend on their intelligence report whether the BN will have a chance to secure victory, regain their lost 2/3 majority in the parliament and perhaps wrestle back their lost states.

That the BN-controlled media is on a frenzy to inject the ‘feel-good’ factor for the embattled PM is an understatement. Likewise any chance of depicting the Pakatan leaders and Pakatan-led states weren’t spared. Any opportunity is turned into a huge political meal. The spins, on numerous occasions, have inadvertently boomeranged back on them very adversely and painfully too.

The latest is about the infamous Wikileak’s expose by the Umno/BN-media, of the Singapore intelligence’s ‘report’ to their Australian and US counterparts, whose damage on Najib arguably far surpasses the intended harm on DSAI.

Umno/BN-controlled media is now frantic to reverse the fallout. They no longer could decide which way to go as the ‘revelation’ has a life and momentum of its own.

As they say it, you can’t pick up one end of the stick without picking up the other… a collateral damage of sort, where you can’t select the real outcome. They wanted the people to believe Wikileak when it involves the Opposition Leader and yet they don’t want the people to believe Wikileak when it pertains to the PM.

If that wasn’t enough to dent Najib’s bullishness to get an early mandate for his premiership, this small piece is now reminding Najib and more importantly encouraging the Malaysian electorates, especially of the civil liberty movement, to not allow Najib, at his whims and fancies, conduct a snap election. This piece will now argue why Najib shouldn’t take the Malaysian electorates for a ‘ride’, again.

Yes, this writer is willing to admit that Najib has indeed vouched to do a lot of things. Yes, the list gets longer by the day. The fact remains, however, that he hasn’t delivered as yet.

The rakyat shouldn’t fall into the rut twice, ie when giving to his immediate predecessor a big mandate when he called for a snap election of the 11th GE, 6 months after assuming the premiership. All he had before the GE were promises.

Yes, he was Mr Clean, at least prior to taking office. But many argued that he was later proven to be neither clean nor reliable on delivery. War against corruption saw Kasitah Gaddam and Eric Chia being dragged to Court. The rest were history. Are all these about to again be repeated with the same story line?

If Najib has unashamedly reminded the rakyat to not gamble their future with opposition, the rakyat should now likewise ask Najib why they should gamble their lives with him. Yes they might be willing to believe his story and all his good-wishes but they should insist that he proves himself and complete his term.

His too many rherotics and big-sounding acronyms of the NKRAs, NKEAs, SRIs, NEM, ETP and EPPs etc, should be given enough time to yield results. His penchant for flip-flop on numerous instances deny him the right to be given the ‘goodwill’ Pak Lah was granted as a new PM.

Najib must be again told that he is the only Prime Minister in our political history that came into office carrying a huge political baggage which might have disqualified him and derailed his dream of becoming the Right Honourable PM.

Bluntly put, he is less than deserving of being granted that ‘goodwill’ as a new PM embarking his first GE.

Worse still, Umno’s penchant for amnesia and arrogance are notorious especially after victory is achieved. The rakyat now fear that Najib will ‘badawied’ it again in much worse style than his former boss – in a legacy of lost opportunity.

Najib must moreover not be allowed to recklessly place state governments and their rakyat, the Pakatan–led states included, into jeopardy. State governments especially of the Pakatan’s have planned their reform programs and crafted their budget to serve and undo the many sins of omissions and commissions of the previous governments.

Against numerous odds, that surely requires time and hard-work to get to be executed. Arguably they do need the full term or closer to one, for a proper execution of their programmes and to carry their stated intentions to fruition.

Their contention of not wanting to condone Najib’s snap election, hence early dissolution of their state assemblies is understandable much as it is commendable.

Najib must not be allowed by the rakyat to get off the hook so easily. As the seating government of the day, they must assume full responsibility for their policy advocacy.

His subsidy rationalization has now urged Research Houses both locally and regionally to predict an increase of inflationary pressure by mid 2011.

CIMB Research’s report released last Monday anticipated that the subsidy cuts add pressure to the consumer price index (CPI). The report added that although the direct impact on the CPI appears manageable for now, one should also be mindful of the indirect spillover effects.

The government has increased in the latest round on subsidy rationalization the price of RON95 by five sen to RM1.90/litre, while diesel price was also raised by five sen to RM1.80/litre. Sugar price rose by 20 sen to RM2.10/kg, and LPG price went up five sen to RM1.90/kg.

They opined that the estimate of the combined price hikes will result in a 0.2% point rise in the headline inflation (fuel price adds 0.18% pt, sugar +0.03% pt and LPG +0.01% pt).
The CIMB head economist also raises the CPI forecast higher to 3% from 2.5% previously involving retail prices of food and beverage and the transportation sectors..

In its report, RHB Research Institute also came to the conclusion that the latest hike’s impact would be manageable but inflation would likely trend up next year due to the government’s gradual move to reduce subsidies every six months. This in turn would lead to higher retail fuel and food prices.

RHB Research also said that rising global commodity prices due to monetary easing in developed countries would likely result in higher food prices and inflation.

Meanwhile the rakyat must be weary of the rising household debts which rose to 77.9% (RM420 billion) of GDP at end of July this year and that Najib must insist that that the central bank ought to introduce measures to curb this troubling trend. Incidentally, up to 87,583 individuals were declared bankrupt up to October this year, with 4,651 or 5.1% due to unpaid credit card debts.

The non-performing loans ratios (NPLs) in Malaysia is expected to come under pressure next year as the country faces a more challenging global and domestic environment. Malaysia as open economy would not be insulated from any shocks related to the external environment.

There is general concern over the direction of the world economy as the United States struggles to prop its economy via further ‘quantitatve easing’, while China comes up with a string of measures to cool its economy.

Given the anticipated troubling and uncertain environement, it is all the more important that the rakyat should put Najib and his government to task. Najib might have been (ill-) advised by his intelligence and international consultants, not the least is his APCO Worlwide, to quickly conduct a snap election before scenario deteriorates.

The Malaysian electorates and the rakyat should now stand to resist this. No longer should the rakyat be shortchanged and hoodwinked by the Umno/BN regime. Najib must exudates commitment to transforming and reforming his government, before rushing to seek for another mandate.

Will the rakyat now reprimand Najib not to call for a snap election?

I rest my case.

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