Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule and both commonly succeed, and are right.
–H.L. Mencken, American journalist, essayist, satirist, cultural critic and scholar
“If you ask about Sarawakians now, for those who are serious about development in Sarawak, they want Najib back.”
That was just plain speaking on the part of Batang Sadong MP Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri. She was just laying down a fact, a simple fact, or a simple truth rather. And as with any truth, those who disagree will find it hard to swallow.
No, Nancy never said all Sarawakians. She was very careful with her choice of words, “for those who are serious about development”. That’s very unlike those who only play politics and politicise any issue at the slightest possibility of a political gain.
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had a lot of things going against him that provided fodder for the Pakatan Harapan to mount a war of perception against him. As it turned out, PH won the war of perception and GE14.
Before long though, PH began having problems making the perception it had created stick in the Malaysian psyche.
Now, that’s one of the biggest setbacks in any game of perception. If something was created out of nothing it would wear off fast, and that’s what is happening in the country today.
Malaysians have a hell lot of questions to ask PH. They are asking about the road tolls that are still there, about the lesser PH version of BR1M, the PH’s lack of original ideas and continuing with mega projects they criticised Najib for, and most of all about the many U-turns — PTPTN, black shoes, minimum wage and the latest, getting workers from Africa.
In Sarawak, they not only ask but they make comparisons as well, which was what Nancy was saying — Najib approved many projects for Sarawak but PH cancelled so many of them; Najib had so many Sarawakians in his government but PH only makes one Sarawakian minister while the sole Sarawakian deputy minister has nothing good to say about the state government.
On top of that, the last time Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah was in the state, which was hardly a week ago, they laid out a red carpet for her, feted her to sumptuous food and drinks, and she shook the hands of the Head of State.
Yet at the end of the visit she talked about making preparations to topple the government of Gabungan Party Sarawak (GPS)! That’s what we call shitting where you eat and sleep.
Compare that to Najib, who came over so many times and spoke about developing Sarawak and returning her eroded original rights, approving funds for infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges and building new TVET centres.
After Nancy made her statement, numerous online surveys were carried out by groups and individuals, and quite interestingly, except for one, the rest said Najib should make a comeback.
Two conclusions can be made out of this: one, people are unhappy with the PH government, and two, Najib got more votes as PM than Dr Mahathir.
That parallels a survey conducted last March by independent pollster Merdeka Center which showed that only 46 per cent of voters surveyed were satisfied with Dr Mahathir. It was a sharp drop from the 71 per cent approval rating he received in August 2018.
That survey also discovered that only 39 per cent said they approved of the PH government while 46 per cent thought the country was headed in the wrong direction.
So, is Malaysia heading in the wrong direction since the March opinion polls?
Well, if it is heading in the right direction, too many goings-on in the country do not look right at the moment.
Remember the latest same-sex viral video? It has not only put a brake on Dr Mahathir’s succession plans but the split in PKR has become more apparent. The plotting and scheming for political realignment within PH are drawing away focus from the country’s No.1 problem — an economic performance that’s becoming less impressive by the day.
In a letter entitled “The final straw that breaks my trust in our government” published by Malay Mail Online July 1 “Disappointed Pakatan supporter” said an 80-page World Bank report bored him to death with “depressing, declining, blood red lines indicating ‘Government effectiveness ranking’ (that) my heart sank (just as much as it soured back on May 9, 2018.)”
“Disappointed Pakatan supporter” ended his letter with “… in all honesty, at this point, my faith in Pakatan Harapan is not damaged — it has quite literally been destroyed”.
What Nancy said about Sarawakians wanting to see Najib back at the helm was not only mild compared to this. More importantly, it is a wake-up call to the PH government to do justice to Sarawak.
Sarawakians are just too few to influence who should become Prime Minister next, but it is no coincidence that hardly a day after Nancy said it Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, with close to a hundred charges on his shoulders, has announced his return to once again lead Umno.
If the new Malaysia government fails to do the right thing, a Bossku comeback is really not impossible. Dr Mahathir himself is a perfect example of this.