By any standards the interview was a sham, observes Tota. Many realised what actually had happened.
Najib has come under relentless and ruthless criticism from Mahathir about the debt of RM42bn in the 1MDB venture, whose Board of Advisors is headed by the PM himself; the truth as to who ordered the killing of Altantuya; the seventh jet purchase by the government, even as the rakyat are reeling over the escalating cost of living because of corruption and mismanagement and the imposition of the GST.
Mahathir’s message to Umno was simple and straightforward – the BN would lose GE14 if Najib leads the coalition. His mission is to get Najib to resign before it is too late.
Najib sheepishly organised an interview on TV3, ostensibly to tackle all the allegations levelled at him by Mahathir. The spin masters in the Umno-controlled print and electronic media went into overdrive to convince Malaysians that Najib would answer completely all the questions posed by Mahathir.
The impression created was that the interview would be conducted along the lines of BBC’s Hard Talk. The naïve swallowed their spin but most people knew that the interview would amount to nothing.
By any standards the interview was a sham. Many realised what actually had happened. Najib’s body language and the speed at which he answered the soft questions, almost without pausing to think, convinced many that he may have had a couple of practice runs at Putrajaya!
It was a far cry from Hard Talk! It was indeed ‘Soft Talk’ on TV3. As far as answering Mahathir’s questions was concerned, never was so little said by so many words.
Embattled Najib has seemingly drummed up support for himself. He has got Umno division and liaison chiefs, youth and Wanita wings, all BN-controlled states (except Kedah), Umno leaders etc to organise meetings to declare their loyalty, support and undying love for the party president.
Mahathir has dismissed all these as phony and fake exercises like the “I Love PM” campaign before GE13 – which did not translate into support from the rakyat.
Umno leaders are quite adept at standing on the shoulders of unthinking party underlings to reach political heights which they relish. So it was no surprise seeing Najib, grinning like a cheshire cat atop the shoulders of Umno Youths – a treatment normally reserved for world champion sports stars and world cup winning coaches.
Najib was obviously enjoying the ride. Perhaps it felt better than being in his Airbus because it demonstrated admiration, adulation and adoration for him.
I wonder if this action by Umno Youth generated Mahathir’s wrath at the mindless action of the Youth who obviously had swallowed hook, line and sinker Najib’s explanations, which everyone finds totally unconvincing.
Be warned, Najib. Mahathir has you firmly fixed on the crosshairs of his political sniping.
But Mahatir must resist any temptation to allow Umno youth to hoist him aloft on their shoulders, similar to the treatment accorded to Najib. Whatever reverence or adoration that he might see or feel will merely be all pretense.
Take heed! I believe the only reason Umno Youth would want to carry him on their shoulders would be to dump him in Putrajaya lake.
Tota is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to our Thinking Allowed Online section.