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Neutrality is the best policy

Zaid Ibrahim  |  Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | Our beleaguered Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has resorted to all sorts of tricks to ensure his victory in the coming general election, but it looks like defeat is staring him straight in the face. He can talk about winning by a two-thirds majority, but he isn’t fooling anyone.

If I were him, I would do a Robert Mugabe and start building a nice hideaway in Dubai or someplace else that’s closer to home, like Koh Samui.

First, the PM’s strategy of working with PAS has gone awry. Even though PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang will remain his soulmate for years to come, PAS supporters have discovered that working with Umno has created some distance between themselves and their friends in the coffee shops and suraus. They are embarrassed to even talk about collaborating with Najib.

Likewise, Umno division supporters are so against working with PAS that they are willing to put up their own candidate if Najib uses his power to name anyone he wants for a seat. That’s why Kelantan Umno will not cooperate with PAS - in fact, they have already started attacking PAS on the ground. They aspire to form a new government. I wish them well; at least they have guts.

Do you think Najib has many friends in the east? You must be joking. Pandikar Amin Mulia, Abdul Rahman Dahlan and Salleh Said Keruak are about all the friends he has. There is a lot of bravado and confidence in Najib’s camp, but the political reality suggests he is in deep trouble.

No one in the east can give him undivided and unconditional support. If he is so sure of support from his own party, then why did Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi have to resort to appealing to Umno delegates one day before the General Assembly not to leave the PM alone? Zahid is not a Liverpool fan so it’s unlikely he was alluding to the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” when talking about Najib.

I heard that Najib may enlist other “friends” in high places to join in the political attacks against Dr Mahathir Mohamad and DAP. 

I would like to suggest to these friends to refrain themselves and not get too excited about helping the PM. He is a lost cause within Umno, and much more so with members of the public. Everyone is just waiting to see him go. It would be tragic if these friends in high places misread the country’s political mood and made the cardinal mistake of backing a loser.

It would be more appropriate for them to refrain from taking sides, especially as neutrality is more in keeping with the traditions we have kept for so long. If they get involved, the people will see as them having a political agenda. The upcoming “mother of all elections” will be hot and volatile enough and will not need new reinforcements from the outside.

Let this battle be left to ordinary Malaysians. Umno has enough leaders and firepower to blast off Dr Mahathir, Anwar Ibrahim, DAP and the rest of the opposition to bits if that is what they want to do. There is no need for others to join in. Only with such detachment in politics will the people continue to respect those in high places.

ZAID IBRAHIM is a former law minister and Umno politician. He is currently a member of DAP.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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