Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wanted: New Malaysian PM, Part 2

Which former Malaysian Finance Minister will succeed in toppling embattled Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi?

In one corner is Anwar Ibrahim, who was the Finance Minister between 1991 and 1998. He was once tipped to be the next premier but his ascent was cut short by former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad.

Anwar has since emerged as the de facto leader of the much-stronger Opposition coalition. The Opposition managed to deny the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional the two-thirds majority it had held since 1969.

And Anwar could still become the new premier. But he must win in an upcoming by-election after April 15 -- he can only run for public office after the expiry of his 5-year ban following his release from jail -- and secure 30 BN defections. Some BN parliamentarians are said to be ready to hop over to the Opposition bandwagon.

The Opposition will end the reign of BN and form the new government should it secure just 30 defections.

In the other corner is Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who was Finance Minister during the 1980s. He offered himself for the presidency of the United Malays National Organization (Umno). The president of Umno has traditionally been the Prime Minister of the country. So far, there is resonance to his clarion call although it's still unclear whether he will eventually get a shot at the Umno presidency again.

Of course, one cannot dismiss the ever-so-slick Deputy PM Najib Razak, who has been waiting patiently for his 'heavenly mandate' to run the country like his late father -- the country's second PM, Tun Abdul Razak.

Whatever the scenario, the likelihood of Badawi's political demise is no longer unthinkable since the watershed elections on Mar 8.

The challenges came after BN, which is led by Umno, lost its long-held two-thirds majority in parliament, lost five states to the Opposition, and saw the casualties of many heavyweights. BN and Umno seem to be disarray with the departure of so many disgruntled political bigwigs. Other component parties of BN -- Malaysian Chinese Association, Malaysian Indian Congress and Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia -- are also in a soul-searching mode.

And it doesn't help that two other strong forces are against Badawi. Dr Mahathir has backed Tengku Razaleigh's call for a party post-mortem, while two royal families have openly rebuffed Badawi in his choice of Chief Ministers in BN-controlled Perlis and Terengganu.

It will take a real miracle for the besieged Malaysian premier and his son-in-law to cling on to power.


svllee said...

Hello Sophie, thanks for your blog on Malaysian news with a Sing twist! Greatly appreciated from abroad.

Pasquale said...

Dear Sophie,

Did it ever occur to you that Najib-bashing has to do with a lot of insecure people getting high blood pressure in the advent Najib takes over as PM of Malaysia?!
Najib has explained his non-involvement in both the Scorpene and Sukhoi as published by the Malaysian Defence Ministry, look it up it is in Bahasa Melayu as the national language of Malaysia, but I am sure you can find someone to translate it for you and hopefully you can publish it in your much read blogsite!
As for the Altantuya case it was also explained of Najib non-involvement which appeared in Malaysia Today sometime back. Najib possible "linked" to the case is the fact that Razak Baginda was once his "trusted" friend that appears to have betrayed that trust by getting involved in this MOngolian girl's death!
If I am the political enemy of Najib I will surely take this opportunity to "kill" Najib politically, don't you think?!


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