... and how the Opposition helped him succeed. In his article Najib's 100 Days No Honeymoon (NST, 11 July 2009), Azmi Anshar gives the 6th Prime Minister of Malaysia the thumbs-up for a better-than-expected performance. He listed 1) the pledge to reform the ISA and allow Press freedom, 2) the liberalisation of FIC guidelines, including the revision of Bumiputera participation in the economy and business, and 3) the promise of reforms within Umno as some of the big moves which may have improved Najib's popular ratings to 65 per cent last week from a sluggish 45 per cent at the start of the "honeymoon" period.
Azmi is not suggesting that Najib's task is complete. "Far from it," he says. "But (Najib) has succeeded in changing people's receptiveness to his administration."
Yes, it does look like Najib has, hasn't he? But it wouldn't have been possible without help and Najib has been getting a lot of help, not least from his own political enemies. Azmi gets a whiff of this towards the end of his analysis: "Pakatan's mishaps and missteps in Penang, Kedah and Perak are glaring symptoms of a highly septic alliance. Najib was quick to scoop back the disillusioned lot into BN's fold."
I'm not too sure about Azmi's last line there but it is true that the Pakatan leaders, so full of promise when they denied the BN the two-thirds majority and took five states in March 2008, have been spending so much time being at odds with themselves. Read YB Wee's latest posting Yes, Selangor State Exco Should Be Reshuffled to understand what I mean.
During the last 100 days, while Najib was building on the optimism of the people, the Chief Minister of DAP's Penang was busy persecuting the media he perceives as conspiring against him. Journalists from these media are barred from attending his state government's official events and companies that wish to invite the CM to officiate at their events are being told that Lim Guan Eng would not attend if certain newspapers are invited to cover the event.
Such antics, I believe, have helped Najib's own pop ratings improve from 45 per cent to 65 percent during the 100 days. Will Najib be able to sustain this? I don''t see why not, especially if the Oppostion continues with their antics.
The PM's biggest opponents so far, in fact, are pro-Umno and pro-Government groups, especially those unhappy with his policies affected Bumiputera special rights. If Najib can reassure these groups of people that his 1Malaysia does not mean the erosion of Malay privileges and rights, and that it is time to take affirmative action to the next level, the Pakatan leaders will have a lot to do to restore the people's faith in them as an alternative to the BN.
1. Najib's 100 Days: Transformational Leadership has Arrived! by Radzi Latiff, who conducted 12 focus group discussions last month and found that "Najib’s challenge would be to allay fears of two significant groups ie The Malay who felt that 1Malaysia would mean the end of Malay Agenda whilst significant number of Chinese and Indian who thought 1Malaysia as more of Najib’s way to win support of Chinese and Indians".
2. 100 Hari PM and Hari Rakyat by Ibrahim Tiger
3. AKJ's 100-Day "Gift" from the PM
4. Pak Lah never wanted Najib as his successor, by Pasquale