Yesterday one of the countries Australia and its friends have long seen as a pillar of regional stability took another big step towards becoming a pariah nation....... On top of a trade collapse, it now risks new sanctions against tax havens agreed upon at this week's Group of 20 meeting.
-Party machine trumps morality — Hamish McDonald
Even so, there is a palpable fin de régime air around Umno. Abdullah,Dr Mahathir and other leaders are publicly lamenting how corruption and cronyism are rife in the party. But his opponents say Najib is hardly the man to restore confidence. In the latest scandal to which they are linking him, the Defence Ministry (which he oversaw until recently) has deferred a big order for helicopters following questions about their high price. A parliamentary committee recently cleared the government of wrongdoing, but admitted not investigating whether “commissions” were paid.
-Enter Najib, with baggage — The Economist
The Umno assembly, at the end of March, which was monitored with great interest across the region, confirmed that Malaysia’s “ethnocracy” — rulership through privileging ethnicity — appears to be well and alive and showed no signs of mortality..... The power grab in the hitherto opposition-held state of Perak, which already saw the hand of a Najib political leadership style, is bound to backfire when the Bukit Gantang parliamentary by-election is held on Tuesday. Umno seems to know no better than to employ the worn-out political strategies and tactics of “buying” elections or money politics that recently failed in Permatang Pauh and Kuala Terengganu. Another tactic is to split opposition votes with multiple candidates, which seemingly has afflicted another by-election on Tuesday as well in Bukit Selambau, with its 15 contenders — unprecedented in Malaysian history! In sum, a paradigmatic shift has occurred in Malaysian politics while Umno and its partners are still mired in a fading ethnocracy. Malaysia’s new leader Najib does not appear to have any mandate nor appetite to change this nor would he be in a position to reform his party or the BN.
-Najib’s rise to power and limits to ethnocracy in Malaysia — Johan Saravanamuttu
In terms of intellectual promise, Abdullah and Najib are virtually on par ....
Those expecting Najib’s capabilities to exceed Abdullah’s are, I fear, mistaken. While it is true that unlike Abdullah, Najib is not a career civil servant, it is also true that his career in government has been distinguished by its complete lack of remarkable achievements. Like all prime ministers except our first, he had a stint at the Education Ministry — can anyone name a single thing he did as education minister?...
As defence minister, Najib’s tenure was characterised by corruption and scandal; while he was rarely directly implicated, this certainly suggests that those hoping for a change in the tone of politics and administration under Najib shouldn’t expect much. And as finance minister, Najib has unveiled a lacklustre stimulus package that mostly comprises ill-advised infrastructure projects.
There is not a single sign of promise here.
-Don’t expect much from Najib, John Lee