Monday, April 13, 2009

Is Najib’s cabinet entirely clean?

When Datuk Najib Razak took his oath as prime minister, he promised our people that his government would be a clean one.

Was it really clean or how clean was the cabinet? And from the announcement of the new line-up made last week, it does not look impressive at all. The new cabinet line-up could have been drafted by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir and Najib could have merely made the presentation on his behalf. The question here, is Mahathir ruling from behind scene?

Then man who was once well known for his keris wielding in the Umno youth, named Hishammuddin is now a holding a powerful position as home minister, while the guy who actually helped to engineer the coup d’etat in Perak, Zahid Hamidi has been rewarded with the defense minister position which made him overall responsible for the country’s armed force.

This situation is rather unwanted by many people. Hishammuddin as the new home minister will rest control over the police and security force to avenge those who had went against him and the keris previously, while Zahid Hamidi was given the defense minister’s position as a reward because of his active role in toppling the Perak state government on last February and installed a rebel state government led by Perak Umno. This will give Zahid an advantage to use the military against the Pakatan Rakyat should the situation in the Perak constitution crisis runs out of control.

And the rest of the members of the new cabinet are not new at all. Najib’s line-up which is essentially the same people and some of Mahathir’s men were brought in or retained, with only a few new faces who are in less effective positions.

Besides, some of the ministers appointed are not even elected representatives of the parliament or rejected by our people in the general elections last year. Those who lost in last year’s poll were Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Datuk Shahrizat Jalil, to name a few, appointed as ministers after they were quickly sworn in as members of the senate. Getting someone rejected by the people into the cabinet is totally unwarranted.

Therefore, there’s nothing a new nor clean at all in Najib’s new cabinet line-up. Much of the Umno’s old guards and conservatives had been retained in the new administration. Were most of them drafted by Mahathir? There is some suspicion as his son Datuk Muhkriz has been appointed a deputy minister. Umno youth chief and son-in-law of former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Khairy Jamaluddin who has a very high profile political ambition has been clearly sideline from any position in the new administration.

It has been reported that Khairy’s exclusion and Muhkriz’s appointment has been the request of Mahathir. It also looked very quite awkward when Umno youth deputy chief Razali Ibrahim has been appointed a deputy minister which clearly indicated that Khairy had received a total black out from Najib.

And what will happen then? When Razali begin to consolidate his power as a deputy minister, he will flex his muscles in the Umno youth in future which may pose a serious threat and challenge to Khairy’s credibility and position as the movement’s number one. Sooner or later, a power struggle in the Umno youth will began to erupt.

Najib’s decision not to appoint Khairy as traditionally, other Umno youth chief got, was to curb his rising influence in the party that he build up previously with the help of his premier father-in-law. Khairy who was once known as the 4th floor kid who make decisions and flexing his influence from behind, is now being targeted by Mahathir’s men who all along wanted his powers in the party curbed.

In this case, Khairy’s ambition to become a prime minister one day is now gone. His political direction is now becoming uncertain and so do most of his strong supporters and fund backers. Is Khairy going to sit down and let Najib step on him forever? It is certain that Khairy with only a party position in his hand will be finding ways to rebuild his political ladder again. He is not letting opportunities go by just like that and he will fight his way through to claim his rightful position in the government. But will he succeed? Mahathir’s men are surrounding and watching him!

Factional fighting in Umno is also continuing based on the fact that Najib’s administration does not properly represent every faction from within the party. Tun Abdullah’s faction, Khairy’s faction and the other smaller ones are beginning to voice their dissatisfaction over Najib’s choice and his endorsement of Mahathir’s interference.

Besides, we must also remember that Najib was also a suspect involved in the death of a Mongolian lady named Altantuya Shaaribuu. Even though two of his former bodyguards were found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging, Najib’s reputation has been dealt with a blow because of his close connection with this case. In fact, in order to have this case closed as quickly as possible, a plan has been hatched between the judiciary and the 4th floor to have these two men sentenced to death, so the truth will not be uncovered forever.

Therefore, the new administration is very, very unclean and the list is too long for us to elaborate further. If there’s no more by-election right now, we will have to wait for the 13th general elections in four years time in order to effect a stronger change onto our nation.

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