Najib defends policies, calls opposition ‘Punch and Judy show’


KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak today launched a virulent attack on his political opponents, describing the opposition as a desperate coalition fighting among themselves like a puppet show, and who now count on a “nonagenarian” to lead it.

“The opposition offers nothing at all. They are in chaos. Two leading members of one party can’t agree if the old opposition alliance still exists in the state of Selangor. ‘Yes, it does’, says one. ‘Oh no it doesn’t!’ says the other. It’s like a Punch and Judy show!” he told business leaders at the Invest Malaysia 2017 today.

While he did not mention names, the prime minister was clearly referring to 92-year old Dr Mahathir Mohamad, his former boss turned nemesis who now chairs the 4-party Pakatan Harapan coalition.

“As for their Prime Minister candidate, the opposition is so desperate they are now trying to make the people believe it will be a nonagenarian – who isn’t even a member of parliament, and whose party has just one seat!” he said.

Najib’s former deputy, Muhyiddin Yassin, who now leads PPBM, is also the Pagoh MP.

In his speech, Najib pledged a crackdown on “crony capitalism”, while telling business leaders that his economic policies have succeeded in attracting billions of dollars of investments from abroad, as well as creating over 2.2 million jobs since he took over as prime minister in 2009.

“I say to you now that under this Government, we are cracking down on crony capitalism. No more sweetheart deals. No more national follies kept going to stroke the ego of one man,” he said.

“No more treating national companies as though they were personal property. Because it is the people who suffer, and we will not tolerate a few succeeding – and not on their own merits – while the many are denied opportunities, all for the interests of a selfish few.”

He said since taking over as prime minister in 2009, Malaysia’s gross national income increased by 50%, with some 2.26 million new jobs created.

“Based on the World Bank’s latest high income threshold of US$12,235, we have narrowed the gap towards the high income target from 33% to 19%.

“Clearly, we are making the right progress towards those goals,” he added.

Najib said the opposition would not admit that Malaysia’s close ties with Saudi Arabia and China had managed to attract billions of dollars of investments, saying his opponents were motivated by “selfish political objectives”.

“In fact they’ll tell barefaced lies about it, just as they have been feeding lies about the economy and stoking fears of economic disaster in Malaysia.”

“So if you receive these smears, or you read it in publications that do not check the facts properly, please beware,” said Najib.

In giving examples of foreign investments during his administration, Najib named HSBC which he said invested over RM1 billion for its future regional headquarters in the Tun Razak Exchange, semiconductor giant Broadcom Limited’s moving of its global hub from Singapore to Malaysia in 2017, and China-based Huawei’s decision to make Malaysia its global operation headquarters involving RM2.2 billion.

“Saudi Aramco is investing US$7 billion – that’s its biggest downstream investment outside the Kingdom,” he added, referring to the Saudi state oil firm’s stake in Petronas’s Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development in Johor.

“That is the single largest investment in Malaysia, and shows the confidence Saudi Arabia has in our people, our technology, and our ability to be a strong partner with their most important business.”