Saturday, October 24, 2009

Najib's Support Dropped Sharply

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Fewer people in Malaysia are expressing support for Najib Razak, according to a poll by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research. 56 per cent of respondents are satisfied with the prime minister’s performance, down 10 points since July.

The United Malays National Organization (UMNO)—the biggest party in a coalition of 12 political factions known as the National Front (BN)—has formed the government after every election since the Asian country attained its independence from Britain in 1957.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over as prime minister in October 2003, after the retirement of Mahathir Mohamad, who served for more than 22 years. In the March 2004 election, the National Front secured 198 of the 219 seats in the House of Representatives. Abdullah was sworn in as head of government with the biggest majority in three decades.

In the March 2008 ballot, the National Front won 140 seats in the legislature. The coalition’s share of the vote dropped drastically, from 64.4 per cent in 2004, to 50.27 per cent in 2008. According to Human Rights Watch, the most recent election was "grossly unfair" and marred by irregularities.

In September 2008, Abdullah announced his intention to step down in 2009. Najib—who served as deputy prime minister and finance minister—took over as head of government in April.

On Oct. 18, Najib urged UMNO members to work for the people and shed the party’s image of corruption, declaring, "No need for rocket science, just do what needs to be done for the people."

Polling Data

Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way Najib Razak is performing his job as the prime minister?

Month of 2009 Satisfied Dissatisfied Not sure

Sept. 2009 56% 23% 21%

Jul. 2009 65% 22% 13%

May 2009 45% 16% 39%

Source: Merdeka Center for Opinion Research

It is a Painless Budget - PM Najib

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday described the RM191.5 billion 2010 Budget he tabled in Parliament on Friday as a painless one.

On grouses about the RM50 service tax proposed for credit cards in the Budget, he said it should not be of concern since the government had cut personal
income tax by one per cent to 26 per cent and at the same time raised tax relief by RM1,000.

It means that taxpayers will enjoy a RM1,000 increase in disposable income from the 2010 year of assessment.

The Budget has been widely seen as a “people first” budget as Najib announced measures not only to lessen the people’s burden in the currently weak global
economic climate but also to make Malaysia a high-income nation.

The Budget is about a tenth less than the budget for 2009 but will cut Malaysia’s fiscal deficit to 5.6 per cent, a move economists said reflected the government’s responsibility to keep the country’s finances in good shape.

Najib: RM50 for credit card not a big deal

PM: RM50 for credit card not a big deal

HUA HIN: Describing Budget 2010 as “painless”, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the people should not complain about the Government’s decision to impose a RM50 annual service tax on principal credit and charge cards.

Instead, the Prime Minister said they should look at the overall benefits offered by the Govern-ment in the Budget.

“They are getting the RM1,000 tax relief and those paying tax at 27% will now pay 26%.

“So, they get two (relief measures) and only have to pay RM50 (per credit card). Don’t tell me they cannot pay RM50?” he said after a meeting at the 15th Asean Summit here yesterday.

Najib, who arrived here on Friday after tabling the Budget in Parliament, had earlier asked the media on the reaction back home to his maiden Budget.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

UMNO is not Racist : Najib

KUALA LUMPUR - PRIME Minister Najib Razak, who on Thursday saw Umno approve reforms he initiated to curb money politics, told his party it needed to become more inclusive or risk losing mass support.

'If the Malays are as racist as they claim, it's not possible that we are so accommodating to other ethnic cultures being practised, that we allow vernacular schools to be set up, and that we can work with other parties in the Barisan Nasional for decades.'

Mr Najib. He shouted 'long live Umno' at the end of his address yesterday.
... more
But he also defended the party from accusations of being racist.

Delivering an address that tried to assuage Malay insecurities while persuading Umno to accept change, Datuk Seri Najib won loud cheers when he slammed those who charged that Umno was racist.

Referring to the opposition parties, he said they should ask whether the mono-ethnic composition of their own parties reflected the openness that they claimed to champion.

Parti Islam SeMalaysia is almost entirely Malay, while the Democratic Action Party is almost wholly Chinese. Only Parti Keadilan Rakyat is fully multiracial.

'If the Malays are as racist as they claim, it's not possible that we are so accommodating to other ethnic cultures being practised, that we allow vernacular schools to be set up, and that we can work with other parties in the Barisan Nasional for decades,' said Mr Najib.

By Carolyn Hong / ST

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Najib Promise To Reform UMNO

KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA'S prime minister promised on Tuesday to reform his ruling Malay party to stamp out deep-seated corruption and make it more acceptable to ethnic minorities in efforts to revive ailing support.

Najib Razak said the United Malays National Organisation, which began its four-day annual congress on Tuesday, would radically change the way it elects its leaders as it seeks to 'eradicate money politics' and restore its credibility.

Party delegates are expected to approve the reforms on Thursday.

Umno is the linchpin of the National Front governing coalition, which has governed Malaysia since 1957 but suffered its worst results ever in March 2008 general elections under public perceptions of corruption and racial discrimination.

The opposition won slightly more than one-third of Parliament's seats.

Umno officials acknowledge the system of electing party leaders has bred a culture of patronage, with candidates sometimes offering bribes in return for votes. -- AP

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Najib: Polls victory shows people responding to 1Malaysia

GEORGE TOWN: Barisan Nasional’s big victory in Bagan Pinang shows that the people are responding well to the 1Malaysia concept, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister said Barisan Nasional would identify what factors had led to the coalition sweeping the seat with a resounding 5,435-vote majority.

He said: “We have found that the concept has received widespread support and has gained the acceptance of people from every strata.”

Najib expressed hope that Barisan’s overwhelming win would be a point of rejuvenation for the ruling coalition. He said the increased majority showed that the people were more confident with Barisan now.

“This may be a result of our policy changes, changes at the national and division levels, a reflection of the candidate himself or a combination of these.

“God willing, the Bagan Pinang win will be a breath of new life for the coalition’s members to keep fighting in order to achieve greater heights in the future,” Najib said.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Najib Losing Faith in his own Component Parties

Najib’s ruthless inclusiveness — The Malaysian Insider

Oct 10 — Perhaps today’s message was directed at the Malaysian Indian Congress but the Prime Minister’s declaration that he is willing to embrace political groups outside Barisan Nasional is the clearest signal that he has lost confidence in his component parties ability to recover their standing among the electorate — and deliver the resounding victory he craves.

For several months now, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has been troubled by the inability of the MIC, Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), Gerakan and PPP to rise above petty politics, reform and reconnect with constituents that rejected their candidates in Election 2008.

Privately, he has told friends that he needs to reach out to the Chinese and Indian communities directly and even work with non-governmental organizations and other political groups that are not affiliated with the BN but are open to supporting his policies.

The reason: he believes that he has under 18 months to win over Malaysians, and lay the foundation for a strong victory by BN in the next general elections.

And with the clock ticking, he has little time to baby-sit MCA, MIC and others who are in infighting mode, and wait for these political parties to regain credibility on the ground.

Many of the BN component parties have branches and divisions in name only, especially in states governed by Pakatan Rakyat. For example, MIC has 3,600 branches but only half are said to be active. The picture is as dismal for Gerakan.

Najib has already started by-passing the MIC and handling Indian issues through the Cabinet Committee on Indian Affairs and with the help of Indian NGOs.

Next on the list will be initiatives to reach out the indifferent Chinese electorate.

But what about the fortunes of the BN partners? Well, they will have to get used to the more inclusive approach announced by Najib today at the launch of the Makkal Sakti party.

MIC officials were displeased that he agreed to officiate at the launch of the new political party but he tossed aside their views.

In this regard, he has the support of Umno officials who feel that BN component parties cannot carry their weight any longer.

During the Umno retreat last week the general sentiment was that Umno should be more clinical in the allocation of seats for the next general elections, and should place its candidates in constituencies where over 55 per cent of the voters are Malays.

Umno strategists believe that with Najib’s interventionist approach and a more pragmatic approach to seat allocation, Umno/BN will be able to regain its two-thirds control of Parliament.

The mathematics is simple. A 10 per cent voter swing in the next general elections and Umno/Barisan Nasional will obtain 195 seats, up from the 139 it has today.

Political pundits and analysts note that a 10 per cent national swing is not an everyday occurrence in Malaysia, but it has happened.

BN’s share of the vote in 1995 was 65 per cent, and it slumped to 57 per cent in 1999.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi led a resurgence of sorts in 2004 when the coalition snared 64 per cent of the vote. Four years later, he presided over a major dip in support for BN, only 51 per cent.

The way Najib sees it, Umno is already in good shape and able to deliver the Malay vote.

But the weaker coalition partners are going to be a major drag on his ambition of leading BN to a resounding victory in the next general election.

He can either be nostalgic about the contributions of MCA, MIC, Gerakan and PPP to the BN or be ruthless.

Today’s announcement suggests that he has chosen the latter.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Altantuya's Dad reminds Najib of his stake in the Altantuya affair

This must be the second time that Mr Setev Shaariibuu misses Najib Razak. Shaariibuu was at the Parliament in 2008, waiting in the corridors to speak to Najib, but the former left the Dewan early, right after lunch.

Shaariibuu managed to meet with then PM Abdullah Badawi and his son in law Khairy Jamaluddin but nothing came out of it.

While Najib is happily visiting Paris with Dotty, Altantuya’s still grieving dad has issued a statement in Mongolia, reminding Najib of his responsibilities as the government of Malaysia.

He would have been in Paris if not for his poor health. His full statement is reproduced below:

I am sorry I could not be in Paris, France to meet Mr. Najib Razak, while he is on his official tour as Prime Minister of Malaysia. I am sick and have been hospitalised due to poor health. I had so wished to speak to Mr Najib and send him this message and to shake his hand. I tried to meet him at the Malaysian Parliament in 2007, but he left the House early and my trip there was not complete.

“She died during the month of Ramadhan in 2006″

It’s been three painful years since my daughter Altantuya Shaariibuu died mercilessly in the hands of the Malaysian Royal Police. She died on October 19, 2006, during the month of Ramadham, which is one of the holiest months for the Muslims.

“How do I explain her murder to her two sons?”

She was blown up by military explosives and the reason for her grotesque murder is still unknown until today. Although the two policemen(Azilah Shaari and Sirul Omar) involved in her murder has been convicted and are facing a death sentence, my family and I are still unable to explain to my two grandsons, Altantuya’s sons- Altanshagai and Multanshagai – that their mother had died so violently and cruelly in a far away land called Malaysia.

“She died while working for Malaysia”

I hope PM. Mr. Najib Razak enjoys his trip to France, where a deal with a French company which his close friend Abdul Razak Baginda help brokered led to the circumstances surrounding my daughter’s murder. It cannot be denied that she died being a translator for a Malaysian company to purchase French submarines worth a billion Euros and know of many things that the neither the Malaysian nor the French public know about.

“Two more orphaned children in the world”

I have filed a civil suit against the two policemen and the Malaysian government to compensate for the death of my daughter. She was the soul bread winner of her two sons. Now her two children are left orphans and I am very uncertain of their future and my wife and I are growing in years and we are not wealthy people. It is only fair and just that the Malaysian government take responsibility for what had happenned to my daughter.

“Why did the court choose to ignore Musa Safri?”

The two policemen committed this most hideous murder of my then 28 year old daughter while being under the service of Najib Razak, who was then Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister. Najib’s aide de camp, DSP Musa Safri was reported to have told the policeman (chief inspector Azilah) to help Abdul Razak Baginda, deal with Altantuya, when she was said to be visiting him to ask for her commissions. However, Musa Safri was never asked to appear in court to be questioned about his involvement in this case.

“Najib acts as if nothing has happenned”

With so many closely linked to Najib in this murder, it is impossible and irresponsible for Najib to now wash his hands off this mater and act as if none of this tragedy has befallen my daughter and my family.

“Would she have died if the French deal was fair and transparent?”

The French company involved in the Malaysian deal also cannot escape with impunity. My daughter would not have met her cruel death if the deal had been transparent and fair.

“Let her not die in vain”

I appeal on behalf of my deceased daughter, my wife, my two grandsons and all Mongolian citizens, not to let my daughter Altantuya die in vain. Her body may have been blasted into a million unrecognisable pieces, but our hearts remain one: to seek justice for my beloved daughter, to put her spirit to rest, and to ensure her orphaned son have a reasonable future.

Thank you.

Sincerely, from a Mongolia citizen whose daughter was murdered by police in Malaysia:Dr Shaariibuu Setev.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Najib: Vote for the man who can resolve problems

PEKAN: Voters in Bagan Pinang should vote for an elected representative who can help resolve their problems in the constituency, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

He said the effectiveness of the elected representative should be the yardstick for voters.

”We must realise that a by-election like in Bagan Pinang is not about forming the Government of the day. Voters must decide which candidate and party is the most suitable to represent their interests,” he told reporters after presenting aid to 161 pilgrims at the Umno building here Saturday.

He was asked to comment on the straight fight between Barisan Nasional’s Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad and PAS state commissioner Zulkefly Omar for the state seat. Polling has been fixed for Oct 11.

On earlier views including that of former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that Mohd Isa was not a suitable candidate, Najib said the matter was no longer relevant since nomination papers had been filed and accepted.

”We must look ahead as the most important thing is the services that can be rendered to voters by the candidate of our choice,” he stressed.

On a minor brawl involving several Barisan’s leaders including Putera Umno chief and supreme council member Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim who claimed that he was punched by Opposition supporters, Najib that by right, there should not be any untoward incident or manhandling of supporters from either parties.

”We should show a good example by respecting the country’s laws in tandem with the democratic principles,” he said.

Earlier in his speech, Najib urged those going to perform the pilgrimage to pray for Malaysia’s well-being and for the country to be free of harm and natural catastrophes.

Najib dismisses Dr M protests over Isa candidacy

PEKAN, Oct 3 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said voters in Bagan Pinang should choose wisely and pick the candidate who would be best able to serve them.

He said the by-election for the state seat on Oct 11 was not one that could alter the government but was only to choose an elected representative to serve them.

“As expected, it is a straight fight (in Bagan Pinang). As such, we urge voters to evaluate wisely as to who among the candidates can best serve them.

“In a by-election, what is important is the service an elected representative can render. He should be able to resolve the problems voters face, this is the yardstick. Like in Bagan Pinang,” he told reporters after presenting aid to 161 people from the Pekan parliamentary constituency who will be performing the Haj, here today. Najib is also the MP for Pekan.

The Bagan Pinang by-election will see a straight fight between the Barisan Nasional’s Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad, who is also former Negeri Sembilan mentri besar, and Zulkefly Mohamad Omar, the Negeri Sembilan PAS commissioner.

Asked about comments by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that Isa should not have been picked as the BN’s candidate in the by-election, Najib: “I do not think the matter arises any longer, we must look forward. What is important is the service the assemblyman can offer the constituents.”

On untoward incidents that happened during the nomination process today including an incident which involved Putera Umno chief Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahimm who claimed to have been punched by a supporter of the opposition, Najib said such incidents would not happen if everyone showed respect for the law.

“If he was punched, I hope he makes a police report. We should not be doing anything that is against the law and this includes roughing up someone.

“We should also be showing good examples, showing respect to the democratic process is one of them.” said Najib. — Bernama

Najib Visits Earthquake Victim Felicia

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today visited Felicia Francesca Francis Dass, the Malaysian student who was injured in the earthquake that rocked West Sumatra, Indonesia, on Wednesday.

Najib and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, arrived at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital from Pekan, Pahang, at 5.15pm and were taken to Ward 2 (Orthopaedic) where Felicia Francesca, 23, is being treated.

Najib and Rosmah, accompanied by Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, spent about 15 minutes at the ward.

The prime minister had earlier hosted an open house in Pekan which was attended by about 50,000 people.

Felicia Francesca, a third year medical student at the Universitas Andalas, injured her spine, head, chest and neck when a concrete slab from the ceiling of her rented house fell on her in the incident at 5.16pm West Sumatra time.

Meanwhile, medical officer Kamarul Al-Haqq Abdul Ghani said Felicia Francesca's condition was stable.

She would have to wear cervical collar to support the neck and lumbar corset to support the spine during the recovery period which could take between two to three months, he said.