The influential former prime minister says Najib's government is weak.
KUALA LUMPUR: Influential former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today described the Najib government as weak and predicted that it will not gain the much-needed parliamentary supermajority in the upcoming polls.
Malaysia’s longest-serving premier said the present government under Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was too focused on “surviving” after its record losses in the 2008 general election, meaning it could not make “strong decisions” needed to push the country forward.
Mahathir had in the past hinted repeatedly that Najib was making concessions to popular and opposition demands to shore up support and warned that this could weaken his administration.
Speaking at the 2012 Perdana Global CEO Forum here today, the country’s fourth prime minister said he would not “say anything bad” of Najib’s performance now but hinted that it was too occupied with wooing voters at the expense of development.
“I think Barisan Nasional will win but I think the majority will not be so good,” he said in his keynote address entitled “What to expect post-13th general election”.
“If you ask me, will BN deliver after it wins? Today the government is not strong… it is trying to survive. What it is doing is just surviving. When a government is only trying to survive, it cannot focus on development.”
Mahathir also hinted that Najib, an unelected prime minister who took office in April 2009, was splashing out cash to woo voters and hinted that it was almost “close to vote buying”.
Spending a lot of money
“I won’t say anything bad about Najib. I’m supposed to be campaigning for him but what I can tell you is, he is spending a lot of money. I wish I could have done that but we didn’t have that much money then,” he joked.
The former premier had often dodged rating Najib’s performance in the past, repeatedly saying that he would avoid giving negative feedbacks.
Observers interpret Mahathir’s response as a hint that the outlook on Najib’s leadership and approach to redeem BN’s losses in 2008 was not good.
And while he is seen campaigning hard to ensure the ruling coalition stays in power, analysts said this does not necessarily translate into endorsement for Najib.
Today, Mahathir again urged voters to be mindful of voting in the opposition, saying that although the present administration may have its weaknesses, the country can improve with only a reshuffle in leadership.
He said voting the opposition into power could be disastrous and the voters will have to “pay the price” when most of the policies of the opposition are in place.
BN claimed most of the ideas proposed by Pakatan Rakyat were populist and unrealistic.
Pakata had promised to raise oil subsidies, lower car prices and cut taxes but the government said these measures will affect revenue and hinder development.