Najib under siege and in weakest position: Asia Sentinel
Najib and wife Rosmah have been heavily criticised by the people and his second term as prime minister is considered to be even weaker than that of his predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was ousted from office in 2009. – The Malaysian Insider pic, January 14, 2014.Datuk Seri Najib Razak is occupying what is quite possibly the weakest position any Malaysian prime minister has ever had to endure, Asian regional portal Asia Sentinel said today.
The Hong Kong-based portal quoted a Malay businessman as saying Najib is under attack by Malaysians as frustrations grew at his extravagant and free-spending lifestyle.
“Najib is in the weakest position any prime minister in Malaysia has ever been,” the businessman told Asia Sentinel, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Asia Sentinel reported that Najib’s unpopularity had risen due to sugar subsidies being cut, electricity tariffs increasing and other price hikes stirring public anger.
The people’s indignation grew when it was revealed that Najib had gone abroad during the Christmas and New Year period, visiting Las Vegas and other countries with his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
Rosmah herself has irritated and enraged the public with her free-spending ways, which has also alienated large swathes of Malays, reported Asia Sentinel.
“Najib has come under unprecedented attack both from within and outside his Umno party. He has been called ‘Mr Nowhere’ because of his absences from Malaysia.
“A section of Umno allied to former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has used bloggers to wage war on Najib and his wife,” Asia Sentinel said.
“The bloggers have been carrying out an extraordinary onslaught, highlighting Najib’s lifestyle and his wife’s expensive predilections, besides corruption within Umno.”
Many in the party rank and file were angry and disgusted over widespread spending to keep the Umno current leadership in place during the party polls in October last year.
The internal attacks had been expected after Najib had allegedly blocked Dr Mahathir’s son, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, from becoming an Umno vice-president.
Outside Umno, opposition lawmakers have been attacking Najib for various price hikes which has caused the cost of living to soar, making the people increasingly furious.
Najib himself has sought to deflect criticism from within and outside, insisting the price hikes were unavoidable due to the global economy.
He outlined 11 austerity measures which Putrajaya would be implementing within the civil service to reduce expenditure and cut costs.
However, the measures were heavily criticised by the opposition and the people also took to the streets on New Year’s Eve to voice their frustration.
An Umno loyalist told Asia Sentinel that within a month, prices of many items have risen.
“The ringgit is kept low against the US dollar, salary increases are meaningless, crime is up, corruption is up,” the loyalist told Asia Sentinel.
Asia Sentinel said during the last days of former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Najib’s predecessor, similar contempt was restricted to certain segments of Umno and the ruling elite.
With Dr Mahathir, the disgust and contempt came from intellectuals and human rights group.
Sadly with Najib, the contempt and disgust is across the board and also extends to his wife and friends. – January 14, 2014.