Kuala Lumpur – A damning credit rating agency report has seemingly forced Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to keep Malaysia’s central bank clear of his scandal ridden political jigsaw.
Coupled with perceived resistance from various quarters, Najib appears to have made the right choice in pushing a hardened banker – hailing from the central bank – as its new head.
Rumours were floating that the embattled premier would nominate a political ally to the hottest seat in the country after that of the finance minister (held by Najib), but warnings poured from all over the place forcing Najib to avert a high risk economic slide.
In the end, after much dilly-dally, Najib opted for the obvious choice, earning the praise of pundits in the process but not all is rosy for the bank and the political elites of the country after this short
spell of victory.
The Sarawak elections looms, with the potential of a record win by the Barisan Nasional (BN), the ruling party thanks to the gerrymandering of seats in the Borneo state and a fratricide among the opposition
Najib flinching in the face of the Bank Negara Malaysia’s governor’s choice and shifting the sands in Sarawak to regain a larger majority (if it happens) in the state shows his limitations.
It is doubtful that Najib can repeat the gerrymandering in Selangor without the Party Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) betraying the opposition, and supporting the BN government in the creation of new, BN friendly
parliamentary seats in peninsular Malaysia.
Speaking to Worldfuturetv.com, a former opposition ally now turned BN adviser said he was totally sure the PAS would give Najib a helping hand in Parliament to get the needed two thirds majority to vote a new
parliamentary seat configuration.
“This will change the game in Selangor in particular,” he said.
He said there could be a compromise between the BN and the PAS over the controversial Hudud.
With the fragmented opposition, the PAS could push through the Hudud in the Parliament with some of the Party Keadilaan Rakyat (PKR) members of the Parliament.
“They may get support from within the PKR, with those MP’s who are not against the Hudud. With this, the PAS would then support Najib’s new parliamentary delineation,” he said.
He said 30 new seats will be added, including in Sabah and Sarawak but the BN would need 10 new seats (mostly Malay dominated) in peninsular Malaysia.
“This means BN in tight control (like Sarawak),” he said.
The new parliamentary seats means “marginal seats” and he mentioned the reshaping of Balik Pulau, Parit Buntar, Sekijang seats.
Najib, he said, will depend largely on Malay voters, thus the interest to get PAS to work with BN on the gerrymandering and to transform the marginal Malay seats into winning seats for BN.
“By June, with the local currency hovering around RM3.80 to RM4.00 against the US$, and Brent Crude oil prices at US$40-45 per barrel, there will be more dollars to spend for the local warlords,” he said.
If Najib succeeds in getting 10 new seats in Peninsular Malaysia, then Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s war against the flailing Prime Minister will be over, he said.
Only a failed gerrymandering, or a huge crash of the ringgit – which was shaping up after the Moody’s report warning about 1MDB’s failed payment on its bond – could derail Najib’s plans.
However, with the 1MDB’s scandal still looming, and refusing to go away, the battle scene is still shaky for Najib to claim a firmer grip on power.