07 December 2015
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak faces a test of his staying power after five months of political turmoil, with members of the ruling party meeting this week as tensions simmer among its leaders.
Najib will probably use the United Malays National Organisation annual assembly to appeal for unity as a funding scandal rocks his administration. He heads Malaysia’s biggest political party, which has been in power since independence since 1957. Still, UMNO had its worst showing yet in the 2013 election and its Vice President Hishammuddin Hussein said last month it faces a trust deficit and is losing its connection with members.
Much will depend on any comments by UMNO’s powerful division chiefs, who have largely backed Najib. What they say will indicate if the worst is over for the premier after revelations that 2.6 billion ringgit ($615 million) appeared in his private accounts before the 2013 vote. Since July he’s faced accusations of wrongdoing by the opposition and some members of UMNO — with the resultant turmoil sending the ringgit lower — and has sidestepped calls to step down.
… “UMNO remains very feudalistic,” said Oh Ei Sun, an analyst at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore and Najib’s political secretary from 2009 to 2011. “When the party president shows great power and determination to hang on, the acquiescence from UMNO leaders will kick in and they will stay in line.”
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 08/12/2015