Datuk A.kadir Jasin calls on the ruling coalition to decide if they should continue having Datuk Seri Najb Razak at the helm of Putrajaya.
The time has come for Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) to choose between Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Putrajaya, said a veteran newsman, as he turned the screws on the leadership of the prime minister.
In castigating Najib for his "golf diplomacy" while over 200,000 people were displaced in the biggest flood ever to inundate Malaysia in decades, Datuk A.Kadir Jasin said a change has to happen, or face the risk of seeing the ruling pact "succumb to old age".
"Like the Romans who had to choose between Caesar and Rome, the time has come for Umno and BN to choose between Mohd Najib and Putrajaya," he wrote on his blog today.
In using the Malay proverb "sekali air bah, sekali pasir berubah" to stress his point, the former group editor-in-chief of New Straits Times said if the saying holds true, he believed the wave of change will get stronger.
"Umno has to do something about its president and prime minister if it wants to stop the situation from getting worse. Like the sandbank, it could be swept away the next general elections.
"The big floods may be the watershed that we are hoping for. They may spell the beginning of the end of a mediocre leadership. That old Malay wisdom about the 'banjir' and the 'pasir' could very well have a literal meaning for Najib," he said in referring to the Malay words for flood and sand, respectively.
He said unless Umno and BN have lost all their sensibilities and bearings, they would know by now that the future does not hold a great promise for them.
"They can pretend and continue to be in a state of denial, but the record of the last few years does not speak well of their performance and their endearment with the rakyat (people).
"I am sorry to have to say this. Umno and BN can keep the PM and pretend that everything in fine, but they must accept the fact that the risk of them being chucked out at the next GE is immense," he warned, adding that voters' desire for change should not be underestimated.
Najib had come under fire after pictures of him playing golf with US president Barack Obama in Hawaii went viral while east coast states in Malaysia were suffering from floods.
He has since cut his holiday short and returned to the country to take charge of flood relief operations.
"Can the 'golf diplomacy' not wait? Would Obama be fuming mad if Najib told him that he could not come because his country is suffering big floods?" Kadir fumed.
Kadir said no amount of explanations and attempts to gloss over Najib's "Hawaiian misstep" by his "propaganda machines" will be able to restore the PM's image, with the veteran journalist pointing out that "Najib's often touted People First's slogan is a sham".
He said the RM500 allocation announced by Najib as well as speeding up the payments of the BR1M aid may help alleviate the rural poor hardship but is unlikely to appease his critics and detractors.
He also called Najib's psychological warfare onslaught as "farcical", and said by recalling holidaying ministers to return immediately to help with flood relief had proven detractors right that the Cabinet was more concerned with their vacations than the wellbeing of the people.
"In seeking to placate the people, the PM is clearly being poorly advised by his psychological warfare specialists. The instruction to his holidaying ministers to come home should not have been made public.
It makes it sound like “bapa borek anak rintik” (like father like son)," he said.
He said there cannot be any hopes of a motivated, committed and transparent civil service, the police, the military and the people if the top man does not display the same motivation, commitment and transparency.
"How many more disasters and tragedies do we need before we dare judge our government, our leaders and our prime minister and say, enough is enough? Just ask ourselves do we still believe in 'Malaysia Boleh'? Does people first, performance now slogan has any meaning?".
As for the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition, Kadir said if they can check their differences, stop washing dirty linen in public and being egotistical maniacs, they stand a good chance of gaining ground in the next national polls.
"In simple language, all that the PR has to do is keep its nose clean and hope that no positive changes happen in the leadership of the BN and the government," he said.
He lamented that the era of strong leaders like former prime ministers Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, who was Najib's father, and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, is over for Umno.
The survival of the ruling Malay party appeared to rest on collective leadership, which Najib has failed to put together, he said. because from the start, the prime minister had fashioned himself as a president not a prime minister.
"He does things not in consultation with the party and the civil service. Instead, he surrounds himself with presidential-type councils, committees, advisers, consultants and special officers many of whom are not government servants but having access to confidential materials and state secrets," he added
(the malaysian insider)