02 February 2016
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak faces an important 2016 in both the economic and political realms. While his critics had dismissed the PM’s chances of surviving the challenges he faced in 2015, Mr Najib has shown his resilience through the adept employment of a carrot-and-stick approach. It will not be surprising if he emerges at the end of the year occupying a more consolidated position.
For United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) members, the PM’s performance this year will be crucial for the ruling party. While the PM has shown his ability to unite UMNO, he remains largely unpopular with the Malaysian public. A Merdeka Centre survey in October 2015 showed that only 23 per cent of Malaysians are happy with the government’s performance. It is not likely that these numbers have shifted significantly upwards.
Mr Najib will need to demonstrate that he is able to win back the support of Malaysians, especially the Malays, given that UMNO is now focused on winning Malay votes to secure victory in the 14th general election, which must be called by 2018.
… Saleena Saleem is an Associate Research Fellow and Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman is an Assistant Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), where he is also the Coordinator of the Malaysia Programme. This piece first appeared in RSIS Commentary.
GPO / IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 02/02/2016