MALAYSIA

Survey gives Najib edge over Mahathir: How will the Malaysian PM handle Mahathir as an opposition MP?

A poll conducted last month showed a surprisingly close race is expected in Malaysia’s upcoming 14th General Elections (GE14). The poll was conducted by the University Malaya (UM).

The poll said18 percent of voters want Mahathir, while 21 percent support Najib.

It said the PM has curried favor with voters with measures tax cuts and ditching highways tolls.

But even if Najib were to win the elections, he would have a hard time handling Mahathir Mohamad who might make it to the Parliament.

And if he is elected – which might be the case – then Mahathir would certainly be the leader of the Opposition in Parliament, a situation that would put PM Najib in a tight spot.

Mahathir would surely bombard the latter with questions on 1MDB and other favorite issues in Parliament, but what would be the reaction of the BN MPs to the old man’s tirade against the leader?

Though Najib is given as winner by the poll from the university, it is not sure whether the BN will be able to win with a 2/3 majority. If it does regain a larger majority than in 2013, there is a chance Mahathir will not take the leader of opposition mantle, as his role will be innefective. 

In 2008 and 2013, the BN lost its two third’s majority to the opposition headed by Anwar Ibrahim, who is now serving a 5 year jail sentence. Mahathir has replaced Anwar as the opposition head in the GE14.

But if the score in Parliament is as tight as the race is said to be, then the prospect of Najib facing a salvo everytime there is a Parliament session will probably be one of the worst nightmare the PM would have seen in his political career.

In the current circumstances, without a real leader in the ranks of the opposition, Najib has done all in his powers to banish questions related to 1mdb or to give vague and unacceptable answers on the scandal.

But with Najib in the direct firing line of Mahathir at the Parliament, things might be different.

The influence Mahathir would have on some of the MP’s would be devastating to the BN altogether. The experience of the elderly political figure will not pass unoticed.

Many of the BN MP’s and Ministers are not of the caliber to withstand the onslaught that Mahathir would prepare for them if he survives the elections and sits in Parliament as a representative of the people.

The people want answers. In the event their votes are not sufficient to bring down the BN as another survey said even if the opposition were to win 60% of votes, the BN would still form the government, the pressure will be untenable on the ruling coalition.

And that is what the BN and PM Najib should have to worry the most about after the upcoming polls, given their utter confidence that they have already won the race.

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