Sounding uncomfortably similar to good ol’ Trump’s campaign slogan, Prime Minister Najib Razak revealed the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) new manifesto, “Make my country great with BN”, ahead of the upcoming general election. Due in 60 days, the election comes with great uncertainty for BN, after Najib had his reputation besmirched in the recent 1MDB scandal. Undeterred, the party promised that BN will “continue to fight for the fate of each Malaysian”, highlighting plans to improve infrastructure, raise the minimum wage and fight sexual assault. Najib’s greatest threat heralds from the 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad, who came out of retirement and back into politics two years ago following the 1MDB fiasco.
Why is this important?
“We will fix our past weaknesses and this time we will fight to the last drop of blood, so that Malaysia soars on the international stage,” vowed Najib during his manifesto announcement. His use of powerful rhetoric and strong words have made some wonder whether the battered leader will continue his winning streak after being labelled one of the most corrupt kleptocratic leaders of his time.
How long can one insulate himself from responsibility, and continue opportunistically drawing divides on racial fronts across Malaysia? We all watched as Bersih marches happened year after year, growing with spirit (and people of all races) each time. Is it time for the seemingly untouchable Najib to meet his match? And what will this mean for our once countrymen across the causeway? It is going to be an exciting year for Malaysia.