Talk of Prime Minister Najib Razak faltering is buzzing all round the coffee-shops that dot the nation, with all eyes wide open to catch a glimpse of who will succeeed him.
The feelings for Prime Minister Najib Razak are mixed. There were some people who believed that Najib should continue as president of UMNO while many more see his career as "finished".
It is surprising to see that a hawker, a lecturer, a lawyer, a teacher and an IT analysis shared the same idea that Najib has to go, while a Malay professional and a BN leader think Najib is still the best man amongst the lot to continue as UMNO president and PM of Malaysia.
Change is necessary, step down graciously
With so much turbulence going on in the country, a lot of which is due to leadership mismanagement, many people are resigned to the fact that if the leadership of the country is not changed in the next general election, Malaysia will stand to lose big in terms of democracy and economy. It will also affect the growth of the nation, with more brain-drain bringing the reality of bankruptcy to the country’s door steps sooner than the officially predicted 2019.
Janet Edwin, a lecture from a college said Najib’s future as a leader in the country is gone, judging him from the way he handled the current crisis facing the country. She felt that he had failed in his role as a husband to the country's top post. Janet said that Najib should gracefully step down instead of being booted out to ‘save face’. Seriously, she felt, he should go as he has made the country look like it’s being run by an amateur, and the nation has become a laughing stock to the world, she added.
“I felt sorry for him as he appeared to be ‘controlled’ in the home ground and he should give his wife a talking down, not the other way round," she pointed out.
Muhyiddin and Mukhriz
Lau, an IT man, shared Janet 'sidea about Najib and agreed that Muhyiddin should not be the next as he does not care much for racial integrity. “And he makes a mess of the education system being the top guy there, what with Interlok and all that. On Pak Lah who might make a comeback, Lau yawns and said, next,” When Mukhriz Mahathir was mentioned, Lau said he was too green in politics and too dependent on Daddy, Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Ah Lung who sells chicken rice ranted about Najib being born with a silver spoon. Ah Lung who praised to the skies the second Prime Minister said it is sad that a son seldom take after his father, especially one born with a silver spoon. “No lah, not his deputy, if he runs this country, there will be more people migrating especially the non Muslims,” said Ah Lung.
He believed that the best PM would be someone from Pakatan Rakyat.
“I don’t care who, just change the government. Let whoever want to be the president of UMNO take over, but the government, we need to change. Just like SUPP, whoever takes over as president is also going to go down like UMNO. They have all been too arrogant in the past,” he added.
Showed his real colours
Voon Shiak Ni, a PKR Women's leader who is also a lawyer, said if Najib had been firm and did as he preached especially on his 1 Malaysia: People First, Performance Now concept, he would have been a great leader.
“Alas, he turned out to be the opposite, not wanting to hear what the masses said, rely on his ill-informed people around him and took a hard stand on issues that affected the people. That is not how a good PM acts,” Voon told Malaysia Chronicle.
She said although Najib has the look of a kind person, his action said otherwise. “I think he won't be the president again, too much internal rift in UMNO. And Mudyiddin is too racial to make a good president or PM. People will never forget his statement of Malay first, Malaysian next. Ku Li will not make it as he looks too ancient and Pak Lah would be too sleepy to do the job. I think there is no more capable leader who has a firm hand after Dr M but unfortunately he has turned too racial after stepping down,” she reasoned.
Voon felt that Mukhriz would be too green to go for the post. “Whatever it is, let them fight it out as whoever is the next President will face the lack of confidence like that of Najib. Pakatan Rakyat will get a PM ready to fill the post in the next general election,” she stated.
Muhyiddin also not popular
A teacher who declined to be named said he would pick Muhyiddin as the last person to be the country's leader. The teacher said Muhyiddin proved to be a failure as an Education minister and the ministry was in a big mess. His racial tone certainly would not warm him to the Chinese and non-Muslims. "Even, I a Malay, is worried of the damage that would be caused if a country become too racial in nature." he said. As far as he is concerned, Najib is the lesser devil of the two.
Azim, a professor from Semenanjung based in one of the institutes of higher learning here, believed Najib will make it and continue to be the president and PM.
“There is a deep respect for leadership amongst the Malays," he said, adding that he does not think the DPM will challenge Najib. "And Ku Li has passed his time" too.
For the first timer voters, Azim said they tended to vote for Opposition but once they mature, they will realize that there is no need to oppose just for the sake of opposing.
“I am talking not only Malay but the younger ones, who are more gullible as a whole. When we were young, we were more rebellious but as we mature, we look at things in a broader manner,” he said. However, Azim, admitted that Kelantan youngsters will still think PAS is the best in the world.
Azim said in any country, no leader is perfect. And when the going gets tough, the people have to display a more mature outlook instead of worsening the situation. Bersih, he added, will not affect Najib in any way except for the young and internet savvy. “The conservative will still pick Najib over Muhyiddin,” he said.
Anxious to see change
As for Mukhriz, Azim thinks he is still young politically, despite the father’s ambition for him to be the PM in waiting.
A Dayak BN leader likes Najib because he has the "maturity". Najib, said the BN leader, wants to do good but unfortunately, his Cabinet is not with him. Let him win in the next general election, and then he can pick his own cabinet and win the people back. At the moment, his own cabinet are creating problem for him, he added.
In summary, the overall sentiment after speaking to the various interviewees is that whether Najib, Muhyiddin or whoever takes over, Malaysians are wary after over 50 years of the BN regime, which has worsened since the last few years.
The people seem to be more anxious to see a change in the government to get the country out of the gutter to at least on a level as other neighbouring countries.