48-Day Countdown to 13GE: Najib is heading towards setting a third record as Malaysian Prime Minister in order to avoid a fourth record as the last UMNO/BN Prime Minister fulfilling the 'RAHMAN' prophecy

The 12th Parliament is supposed to be dissolved today for the 13th General Elections to be held, with nomination on March 16 and Polling on March 30.

But February 22 has come and will go without any dissolution of Parliament, with the speculation on the critical dates of dissolution shifted to between March 15 - 21 with polling in the first or second week of April (with the bets on the second week so that many out-of-state Chinese voters would not cast their votes as they are not expected to return to their hometowns after returning in the first week for the annual Qing Ming festival or All Souls' Day which falls on April 5).

I was first informed of the February 22 dissolution of Parliament on January 9 after a high-level meeting of the Prime Minister's political strategists in Putrajaya on the same day, and in the ensuing five weeks, it became an increasingly speculated date to become the "hottest" date for dissolution for the 13GE.

But clearly with one blunder after another, Datuk Seri Najib Razak just lack the confidence to be ready for the 13th General Elections and to be able to pass the Mahathir test formulatedf by the former Prime Minister on January 31 this year.

It was at the 15th Malaysia Strategic Outlook Conference that the former and longest-serving Prime Minister who has emerged to be the real power behind the UMNO throne publicly formulated the "Mahathir test" for Najib in the 13GE - that it is not good enough for Najib just to win and that he should step down and give way to Deputy UMNO President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as Prime Minister if UMNO/Barisan Nasional only scores a slim majority in the 13th GE, without regaining a comfortable two-thirds parliamentary majority for Barisan Nasional.

But until the Chinese New Year on February 10, with the multi-million ringgit Psy and Gangnam Style coup for Penang BN CNY on February 11, Najib was still supremely confident that he was ready for February 22 dissolution of Parliament.

This Psy and Gangnam coup however proved to be a dud and counter-productive, as the Psy Appearance in Penang was not only a failure, its adverse repercussions were nation-wide as illustrated by the lukewarm response Najib received when he tried to make history as the first Prime Minister to attend the Dong Zong Chinese New Year Open House six days after the Psy Effect.

Although Najib had thought that the Korea K-Pop superstar would be one of his "secret weapons" for the 13GE, it can now be said that it was Psy and Gangnam Style which "killed" the proposal to dissolve Parliament on February 22 - because of the multiple political and public relations disasters from the RM3.5 million invitation for the Psy and Gangnam Style appearance in the Penang Barisan Nasional Chinese New Year Open House on February 11.

After all, it was not just one disaster but a basket of disasters - the nationally reverberating "3 Yes for Psy, 3 Noes for BN", the five-minute "Toss Yee San" fiasco, Psy's refusal to dance Gangnam 1Malaysia Style with Najib, Rosmah and Ng Yen Yen and the ludicrous allegations of death threat to Psy and Najib.

As a result, Najib is heading towards setting a third record as Malaysian Prime Minister in order to avoid a fourth record as the last UMNO/BN Prime Minister fulfilling the "RAHMAN" prophecy.

The two records Najib has set as Prime Minister are:

  • the longest Prime Minister without an elected mandate of his own;

  • Parliament under him serving out its longest tenure.

The third record Najib would set in two weeks' time on the fifth anniversary of the March 8, 2008 "political tsunami" in the 12th general elections is having a Parliament under him serving its full five-year term, which has never happened before in Malaysian parliamentary history. Every day after March 8 would be a day exceeding Parliament's five-year natural term.

Najib is setting these three records because he wants to avoid setting a fourth record fulfilling the RAHMAN prophecy of being the last UMNO Prime Minister in Malaysia.

It is the possibility of his fulfilling the RAHMAN prophecy of being the last UMNO Prime Minister which is hounding and haunting Najib and causing him to delay holding the 13GE for the past two years, including the latest irresolution to stick to the February 22 dissolution.

Najib's Hamlet role of "To Be Or Not To Be" is most extraordinary considering the flattering picture that UMNO/BN propagandists and publicists have been presenting not only about UMNO/BN combat-readiness, but their purported confidence that UMNO/BN can do well in the 13GE - even winning two-thirds parliamentary majority and recapturing some of the Pakatan Rakyat state governments!

Najib for instance visited Johore Baru on the third day of the CNY and declared that Johor remained a Barisan Nasional bastion in the 13GE and that he was confident of wresting seats BN lost to the opposition in the last general election.

In actual fact, of all the states in Peninsular Malaysia, Najib is most worried about Johore, which provided 25 MPs or 30% of the total of 85 BN MPs in Peninsular Malaysia in the 2008 general elections.

This is why Johore, together with Sabah and Sarawak, have been regarded as the "fixed deposits" states for UMNO/BN and who will be the "kingmaker" states to decide who wins Putrajaya in the 13GE.

In the 2008 general elections, Johore remained the UMNO/BN bastion although UMNO/BN candidates were falling like nine-pins in other Peninsular states, viz:

  • UMNO nearly wiped out in Kelantan except for Gua Musang and Jeli;

  • MCA and Gerakan totally wiped out in Penang and Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur; and

  • MCA totally wiped out in Selangor except for Pandan (Ong Tee Keat).

In the 2008 General Elections, UMNO/BN leaders were very cocky and arrogant declaring that Johor, Selangor and Malacca would become "zero-opposition" states.

In the event, BN lost the state government in Selangor to Pakatan Rakyat, managing to win only 20 out of 56 State Assembly seats; lost five of the 28 State Assembly seats in Malacca while Pakatan Rakyat won six of the 56 State Assembly seats in Johore.

UMNO/BN leaders are again talking about a "zero-opposition" in Johore in the 13GE, as in the 1995 and 1999 general elections, and virtually "zero opposition" in the 2004 general elections.

Whether Johore will revert to become a "zero-opposition" state will be decided by the voters of Johore and not the UMNO/BN leaders, state or national - not even Najib or the Johore Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman.

UMNO/BN leaders, state and federal, had three days of "delight and fun", believing that Pakatan Rakyat in Johore is on the verge of disintegration and self-destruct and that they would be spared the nightmare in the 13GE to witness the end of Johore as the bastion of Umno/BN for the past half-a-century.

The jury is still out whether UMNO/BN leaders would be spared this nightmare to see Johore leading the "political tsunami" in the 13GE - leading the transformation of the political landscape in Peninsular Malaysia!

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur