Criticism against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak appears to be gaining steam outside of the country, with The Myanmar Times now jumping onto the bandwagon.
In its opinion page dated February 23, the writer Roger Mitton, presented a bleak picture on the issue, describing it as a “gluey black sea of venality the likes of which has not been seen in this region since the days of President Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines.”
He said things are so bad that Umno-owned newspaper, Utusan Malaysia, had to carry an editorial to try to exonerate Najib and shift the blame elsewhere.
“It failed, of course,” he said, adding it was because the newspaper was arguing against facts that indicate “Najib is steadily sinking into the treacly pit of corruption and maladministration.”
Mitton said the controversy surrounding debt-ridden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz, as reported by the New York Times, recently also were not helping in lifting his image for the better.
“It is hard to truly comprehend the full magnitude of this gigantic, nepotistic malfeasance, and even the illustrious New York Times took three pages to try to do it,” he wrote.
The Myanmar Times’ article also alleged that Riza, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s son, was responsible for most of the woes brought about by the 1MDB debacle, due to his association with Penang businessmen Jho Low.
“Why and how? There is no clear answer, except to recall that Najib is under the sway of Rosmah, a shopaholic wrecking ball, who shrugs off ridicule and ignores how her actions thwart her husband’s premiership,” he wrote.
Mitton went on to say that the personal damage to Najib “is piffling compared to the disastrous effect the huge 1MDB losses are having on the already fragile Malaysian economy.”
Adding on, the article said that political support for the ruling party in Malaysia was also diminishing, taking note the results in the last general elections that saw the voting pattern swaying towards opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
He said that since the failure to reverse the drop in votes experienced by his predecessor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Najib has clung onto the Umno leadership by appeasing his key support base, the Malays, “and marginalising the Chinese and Indian communities.”
Followed by the move to keep the Sedition Act and Anwar’s jailing, Mittton said “these actions signal a premier running scared.”
He said that in any case, Najib’s survival may depend more on Umno elders the likes of former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and former finance ministers Tun Daim Zainuddin and Tunku Razaleigh Hamzah.
“Since they have all turned against him, though, the omens are not good.” he said.