COMMENT The hot talk in town is that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak may resign soon and that Umno and BN will go into the next general election (GE14) without him at the helm. This story seems to have appeared, probably because of an article by Dr Lim Teck Ghee, which appeared recently.
Titled ‘Why Prime Minister Najib is on his way out’, this article has resulted in numerous comments and feedback from the public. Some commentators have agreed with Lim, who incidentally is a friend of mine, and his prediction that Najib will call it a day and leave office ahead of GE14 so as to give Umno an advantage in the election.
But others have disagreed with him. So strong is the public disapproval and disgust with what has happened in the 1MDB case, as well as that unbelievably gigantic donation into the PM's personal bank account, that many Malaysians want to see Najib pay the price for these two scandals, which are costing our taxpayers billions of ringgit.
I am with the other Malaysians who hope that the prime minister will not be able to get away scot-free. Or, in the words of Lim (on right in photo), be able to engineer “the great escape” from these two scandals that have made headlines around the world for the wrong reasons.
One thing I must say about the piece is that Lim was trying to be a good social scientist and was not directly putting out his personal views on the prime minister's integrity or leadership.
Misuse and absuse of power by Umno and BN
Lim has already written enough in the past on the misrule and abuse of power by Umno and BN. Those of us who know him and those who are familiar with his writings know where he is coming from and what he is getting at in this most recent article.
But I agree that his article opens up lots of questions. Not only about what Najib is going to do next or when he is planning to go. Also, what Umno's supreme council leadership may be discussing, quietly among themselves and behind the back of the prime minister.
As Lim says, leaders from Umno and BN must be nervously looking at the 1MDB mess and wondering if this mother of all financial scandals may have a final eruption that will take Najib down, as well as Umno/BN with him.
To me, and many thinking people in this country, it is simple.
This is that both Najib and Umno/BN must go. We have given them a lifetime of being in office and provided them with positions, power, privileges and perks. And what have we got in return? This is a question that every Malaysian must ask himself and herself.
What we have got from Umno/BN is a rotten deal. Let me enumerate some of the details of this rotten deal that have come with this lifetime of BN rule.
Piratisation, Cowgate, bailouts galore, brain drain, millions of foreign migrants, a sub-standard education system, GST, unaffordable housing, unemployed and unemployable graduates, super-cronies, grand corruption engaged in by several Tan Sri, sick man Proton and approved permits (APs) - the list of abuses and cases of bad governance can fill up several books.
Cost of bailing out GLCs
In 2012, when my book on ‘Road Map for Achieving Vision 2020’ was published, it was revealed to readers that various mega projects, such as the commission for the purchase of the Scorpene submarines, Eurocopter deal, the National Palace project, etc, had cost taxpayers more than RM20 billion, while the cost of bailing out GLCs, starting with Bank Bumiputra in 1970 and ending with the bailing out of Proton and MAS in 2006, had cost us close to RM70 billion.
I am sure that Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyiddin Yassin of the new party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), realise this too, since they were part of the rotten structure of Umno/BN. But understandably, they do not want to talk about or revisit this past record of structural rot and defects in Umno/BN today.
What is important, though, is that these two key Malay leaders have now openly admitted that the problem of greed and corruption, abuse of power and cronyism is embedded in Umno and cannot be rooted out or defeated from within.
Only with the rejection of Umno/BN - and not just the departure of Najib - can Malaysians hope to have a brighter future. Only with a change in government - after giving Umno/BN a lifetime of opportunities - can Malaysia avoid falling into the list of failed states that we are rapidly plunging towards.
Principally, it is our fellow Malay citizens who must realise that they have been taken for a ride and betrayed by Umno. There are now three new Malay parties with leaders of worth and integrity - PKR, Amanah and Bersatu – that can replace Umno.
Let us all work together to get rid of Najib and Umno/BN, once and for all.
KOON YEW YIN, a retired chartered engineer, is a philanthropist.