By Lim Kit Siang
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s barefaced denial yesterday that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 2013 Budget was an “election budget” illustrated what is wrong with the UMNO/Barisan Nasional government after 55 years in power – that the Umno/BN government leaders suffer from the dual terminal ailments of denial complex and unprecedented credibility gap.
Even UMNO/Barisan Nasional Ministers, MPs and members would not believe Muhyiddin’s brazen denial that Najib’s 2013 Budget was not an “election budget”.
Why then is the Deputy Prime Minister making a denial that is completely bereft of credibility, whether in Pakatan Rakyat or Barisan Nasional camps?
The only answer is that UMNO/BN leaders continue to suffer from the false sense that they could transform Malaysian politics into a world of make-believe and get ordinary Malaysians to believe what the UMNO/BN leaders decreed, although totally divorced from the world of reality.
It is because of this misguided and misplaced complex that caused UMNO/BN leaders to continue to deny that the growing fear of crime among Malaysians as well as rampant corruption in the country are major problems in the country, falling back on discredited GTP and NKRA statistics and claims of falling crime index and progress in the war against corruption.
But this is false sense of make-believe and denial is not sustainable in the real world, especially in the era of Internet and information technology where information travels at the speed of light and could no more be buried by the BN mainstream media.
Najib had put his finger on the pulse of the problem when he became Prime Minister in April 2009, when he declared that “the era that the government knows best is over”, but the tragedy is that Najib had demonstrated in his 42 months as Prime Minister that he could diagnose the problem afflicting UMNO/BN government but he could not act on the diagnosis, either for lack of political will or personal convictions.
Najib made dubious history yesterday when he transformed his 2013 Budget – which had goodies for almost every sector of the electorate – into a brazen electioneering speech.
Despite Muhyiddin’s post-budget claim that the 2013 Budget is not an “election budget”, Najib devoted more than 10 per cent of his budget speech in a blatant electioneering appeal for continued support for Umno/BN while launching a most improper attack on Pakatan Rakyat.
Najib took MPs and the listening Malaysian public by surprise when he devoted the first six paragraphs of his 2013 Budget speech appealing to Malaysians for continued electoral support for Umno/BN government after 55 years, and hurled charges and insinuations against Pakatan Rakyat.
But he outdid himself at the end of the budget speech when he devoted the last 14 paragraphs of his 174-paragraph budget speech on a unashamed glorification of Umno/BN rule and condemned Pakatan Rakyat, causing many on both sides of the political divide to shake their heads with the common complaint that the 2013 Budget presentation was a poor reflection on the “class” and “standard” both on the Prime Minister and the annual budget.
It is evident that the 2013 Budget hides a very unconfident Najib who is haunted and hounded by the phobia that his fourth budget speech as Finance Minister may be the last Umno/BN budget in Parliament in the nation’s history.
This is why despite all the chest-thumping and braggadocio of supreme confidence that Malaysia will witness six more budgets to be tabled by the Umno/BN Government to transform Malaysia from middle to a high-income developed country, Najib has continued to play the role of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “To Be or Not To Be”, agonizing over whether “To dissolve or not to dissolve Parliament” since last year.
The reason is simple – Najib has no confidence that he would not be the last Umno Prime Minister in Malaysia or that he would not be toppled as UMNO President and Prime Minister in a repeat scenario like what happened to Tun Abdullah in 2009, becominng the latest “trophy” of Tun Mahathir with the scalps of three DPMs and two PMs!