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Najib’s ascent filled with ‘free’ rides

 | May 7, 2012

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is over-dependent on scripted solutions, and is under-developed in his own thinking capability.

COMMENT

Umno president-cum-Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is the personification of the Dutch disease – in which the manufacturing and knowledge-based economic activities suffer because the economy over-depends on natural resource.

The economy becomes one dimensional and becomes in turn uncompetitive.

How so with Najib? He suffers from a variant of that disease – over-dependence on “subsidised free passages”.

Najib is a person who is over-dependent on scripted solutions; as such, he is under-developed in his own thinking capability. Najib is a one dimensional type of leader.

As such, how can someone who can’t grasp simple and straightforward concepts be in a position to manage and lead a country?

Just as Daim Zainuddin (former econmic adviser) intimated to me on numerous occasions, Najib has lost the plot to run the country because he doesn’t understand the business of government.

Najib’s dependence is centred on “natural political resources”.

Let’s look at his history. Najib arrived to where he is now because of his over-dependence on fortuitous events that shaped his life.

Political leverage

He became an MP at a young age because his father Tun Razak passed away and the Pekan people, in an attempt to overcome collective grief, looked at Najib to continue Razak’s legacy.

He became deputy ministers in three ministries because the prime minister then was his uncle, Hussein On.

He became MB of Pahang at the age of 28 during which development in Pahang was practically barren.

He became the number two in Umno Youth because he rode on Anwar Ibrahim’s back.

So all his political life, Najib is where and what he is, because of purely fortuitous outcomes.

That is his natural political resource making him the foremost beneficiary of that resource.

As a result of this over-dependence, he has become one dimensional.

Najib has asked Malaysians to look at his track record and his seemingly bottomless reservoir of big ideas.

Failed ideas

I want you to consider two examples: Najib’s failed “My First Home” ownership scheme for young Malaysians and the recent decision to scrap the controversial new civil servant remuneration scheme.

Launched a year ago, the house-ownership scheme for low-income earners failed because banks are unwilling to hand out 100% financing to applicants earning less than RM3,000 a month.

How can Najib fail to grasp the fact that with a gross income of RM3,000 a month, a person simply cannot have any spare cash to pay the monthly instalments for the house?

Surely, Najib must know that a person has also to pay for essentials such as food, transport and other expenses. And after deducting EPF and Socso, there is really nothing much to spare.

The scheme was meant to entice voters especially from among the young people.

Najib was banking on these schemes to kick in because he has to win the next general election, by all ways and means. Yet, it has turned into a disaster.

Eighty percent of the participants of Bersih 3.0 were young people. Why should the young who have been promised so many goodies, turned their backs on Umno?

Najib’s not thinking

Can we explain away this irritable behaviour of the young generation as biting the hand that feeds them?

Likewise with the Public Service Remuneration Scheme (SBPA) announced in February. The disparity between the salaries of the top civil servants and those in the lower grades – who form the majority – was much too wide.

This plan was criticised from day one and has finally been scrapped by Najib because it is too hot a political potato to hold onto.

The SBPA, too, was meant to gain votes in the coming 13th general election.

Could he save himself when he revised the SBPA? His hands were already exposed.

Top civil servants enjoyed increases of RM30,000 to RM40,000 while the lower rung obedient servants, who are not going to be civil anymore, enjoyed increments of RM10 to RM20.

By revising the salaries he had shown he wasn’t sincere in the first place and and didn’t know what was happening on the ground.

Najib showed he wasn’t thinking seriously about the matter.

Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz is a former Umno assemblyman and is now a DAP member. He is a FMT columnist.


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