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Najib using Singapore’s playbook to muzzle opponents ahead of crucial polls

By Cordoba Ali




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In an attempt to prevent the rise of Mahathir Mohamad, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia; Najib Razak, has made several moves to stifle Mahathir’s rise, observers in KL say that Najib is using PAP’s political playbook.

In June this year, Najib’s government ordered a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI), akin to investigative probes into Singapore’s Workers’ Party, to curb Mahathir’s rise with the ranks of the opposition.

In retaliation, Mahathir moved to oust two members of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on losses incurred by the central bank, the Bank Negara Malaysia in the late 1990s which led to the Asian Financial Crises.

Rising from the ashes, Mahathir has drawn massive crowds at rallies with his son the former chief minister of Kedah Mukhriz Mahathir’s support. He is calling on the Malays to oust Najib in the next General Elections (GE).

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However, with Mahathir having failed to remove the two members of the committee, it appears the elections would not be called for before mid-November so that the commission can complete its probes. The RCI yesterday dismissed the applications by Dr Mahathir and jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to disqualify its chairman and a member of the tribunal on grounds of bias. RCI Chairman Mohd Sidek Hassan said members of the tribunal were appointed by the King.

Of course, no one expected the chairman and a member of the RCI to resign in the name of fair play, which is what Mahathir is now saying: That is, there will be no fair play and there will be biasness in the conduct of an already tainted RCI.

Yet, the Najib’s regime, smiling its way amid global accusations in a massive international money laundering scandal, is happy with Mahathir’s failure to remove the two elements.

Some of the mainstream printed media in Malaysia hailed Mahathir’s failed bid to remove the two RCI members a success for Najib Razak.

While this is yet to become a trial by the press, there are signs that the printed media in the country will support every single victory of the Najib camp and lambast every setback by the Mahathir camp in the course of the RCI hearing.

On the other hand, the witch hunt against its opponents carries on.

The Selangor Umno Youth yesterday lodged a report against the Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of Selangor Azmin Ali – who is also a high-ranking member of Anwar Ibrahim’s party the Justice Party – at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission or MACC.

The report is over dispute between Universiti Selangor (Unisel) and its contractor Jana Niaga Sdn Bhd.

The complaint was also lodged against the Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI), of which they said Azmin is also responsible as he chairs the Pendidikan YS Sdn Bhd, a state subsidiary company which manages Universiti Selangor (Unisel).

The Umno Youth in Selangor said they acted upon various documents posted on Selangor Leaks, giving them “big doubts on the contract between Unisel and Jana Niaga.”

The Najib regime has also implemented policies that wade off whistle-blowers, while the MACC said it will not be interested in cases involving political figures until the next GE is over.

However, if the MACC were to act against Azmin before the GE, it will show the double standards in the judicial process in Malaysia.

In the process, the government is prosecuting ‘whistle-blowers’ from the opposition for leaking information, a law which is like our Official Secrets Act, that led to the uncovering of massive financial scandals in several central government institutions.

It has also jailed whistle-blowers on the 1MDB issue, without trial, before releasing them with the sole intent to gain their silence.

Najib’s regime is seen synchronising his attacks against the opponents with a potentially large electoral budget with goodies in store akin to our GST rebate and vouchers, that would be presented at the end of October this year.

Najib is tightening his grip on power, observers say.

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