22 July 2015
As Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak faces an investigation sparked by a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report that US$700 million (S$957 million) may have wended its way into his personal bank accounts, his biggest source of support — his own party — could also be the most realistic threat to his leadership.
Since coming to power in 2009, Mr Najib has built a support network in the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), ranging from government ministers to party division heads. As UMNO chief, Mr Najib has rallied rank-and-file members with a variety of pro-Malay policies in the past 18 months. The biggest risk would be if party chiefs at some point decide he has become a potential liability to lead them into the next election due to be held by 2018, especially as its coalition lost the popular vote for the first time in 2013 because of desertion by non-Malay voters.
… “Malaysia has a patronage system whereby the supreme leader has to take care of major honchos, and so as long as he is able to satisfy their various demands and interests, they will rally around him,” said Dr Oh Ei Sun, an analyst at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore and Mr Najib’s political secretary from 2009 to 2011.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 16/11/2015