Enticing the tiger to leave its mountain lair

By Ariff Sabri, MP for Raub


It would be worse for Najib if he leaves the “Mahathir way”, says Ariff Sabri. (pic from FMT)

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah or TRH delivered a speech in parliament a few days ago. Fearing the worse, Najib sent some people to ask Ku Li not to savage him.

Ku Li responded by telling the messenger, listen to the speech first.

After the speech, we all know Najib was treated kindly. The speech wasn’t one like hell hath no fury like a woman scorned type. It was too gentlemanly a speech.

On that day, had Tengku Razaleigh moved a motion of no confidence, Najib would have been sent packing. Tengku Razaleigh delivered a cultured speech, pleasing Najib’s aristocratic pretences.

I am not going to repeat the issues raised. Readers can read for themselves. Many people say Ku li is a day late, and a dollar short.

What was the purpose of the speech? It was to entice the tiger to leave its mountain lair.

The whole speech, read objectively, distanced Ku Li from UMNO. Had Tengku Razaleigh read the last paragraph in the original version of the speech, it would effectively be a declaration, he is leaving UMNO.

Indeed if one reads the speech as a whole, effectively it’s a challenge for UMNO to sack Ku Li. Here is someone from UMNO disagreeing on all UMNO’s agenda including objecting to the PM serving as Finance Minister. The speech challenges the UMNO MPs in particular to give qualified loyalty to the party and leader. It’s a call for mutiny.

So what is UMNO waiting for?

It will do nothing. Najib will not dare sack Ku Li. In fact, Najib needs Ku Li to be on his side.

One must see the speech in a broader context of the umno power struggle currently in motion. It’s not a secret that Najib is facing a robust challenge from the Mahathir faction. It will culminate in an open war.

People can give 1001 reasons for the absence of some powerful UMNO leaders during a solidarity with Najib program last month. Those who were absent can be counted as those opposed to Najib. Even some of those who attended the program were not all for Najib.

Najib knows the support from those who declared they are for him, is ephemeral. He can expect the Mahathir faction will soon present him with an ultimatum. By that time, Najib’s resignation is a fait acompli.

Understand the purpose of the speech. It’s the same as Mahathir asking Najib to leave- but done in a more subtle way. Najib can leave the Ku Li way or the Mahathir way.

What’s the difference if the objective of kicking out Najib is achieved? The difference is with the Ku Li way- najib leaves office on his terms. With the Mahathir way- Najib leaves office, on Mahathir’s terms plus Najib is utterly disgraced.

The Mahathir faction is ready to deliver the coup fatal. Mahathir doesn’t need 154 division heads; he only needs about 30 powerful UMNO leaders to deliver the final blow. Mahathir accepts that Najib has the power to patronize and buy out some UMNO leaders and keep them on his side. Tengku Razaleigh has said that division heads get as much as RM50, 000. The UMNO MPs do.

But Najib can’t buy out everyone. Those not buy-able who simply hate Najib knowing the mess he and his wife created, are sufficient for Mahathir to carry out the political assassination. They will simply present Najib with some irrefutable proofs of Najib’s darkest secrets.

Kadir Jasin has hinted that much- the only language that Najib understands is the language of force.

Ku Li is sending a message to Najib that in him, Najib can find a more reasonable and personable ally. That is, to fight alongside him against Mahathir’s forces in the party.

Najib knows, despite the number of UMNO division heads on his side, he will lose against Mahathir. Najib knows too, the support of the division heads who assembled at the solidarity with Najib assembly, is fickle. The UMNO people will abandon ship when they see Najib’s position is indefensible.

So what is Najib to do? If he has to go, at least, make the eyes of the Mahathir faction, turn white. ( biar puteh mata). Najib’s overriding priority now is to deny Mahathir’s faction victory. Because if Mahathir’s faction wins, Najib and Rosmah and the army of hangers on are finished. They will be shown no mercy.

Whether Najib likes it or not, he has to leave, resign or retire. He can be expected to do that within a few months after the wedding of his daughter. I don’t think his political foes are heartless like him when he asked Mat Said of Terengganu to step down. It would however be a comeuppance to Najib reminding him of his ill-bred treatment to Mat Said if they choose to do that.

So he must leave. Ku Li’s measured and controlled speech sends a signal to Najib that Najib has an honourable way to leave while denying victory to Mahathir and his faction.

If he fails to understand the message in Tengku Razali’s speech, he will be kicked out of office in disgrace. He will just be shown the most damaging of evidence concerning several things which when presented and under threat of public exposure, he will volunteer to resign.

Najib now has two choices. He can leave via the soft and refined approach which Tengku Razaleigh offers. Or he can submit to the language of force that only a stubborn and incompetent person like him understand.

Najib’s legion of boorish hangers-on and apple polishers must quickly persuade him to negotiate with Tengku Razaleigh. Otherwise Najib’s exit will be very hurtful.

Tengku Razaleigh will emerge as the king maker. Spurn him, Razaleigh will migrate to the Mahathir faction. Mahathir on his part, has no choice but has to finally acknowledge that Razaleigh is the man.

*This article first appeared in sakmongkol.blogspot.com

*The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and may not necessarily represent the views of The Rocket

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