SPECULATION has been rift of a possible political shake up ever since Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan sat down for an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). As the Strategic Communications Director for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) whatever he had to say is important and has implications for the coalition. So when he confirmed the public and media’s suspicions that Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak is the Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) mentioned by the United States (US) Department of Justice (DOJ) in its civil lawsuit, everyone sat up and took notice.
Datuk Abdul Rahman’s words reverberated the world over. To many the affirmation was shocking to say the least and swiftly fuelled talk of a major blunder on his part. Meanwhile some political analysts were beginning to decipher if in fact it was a huge mistake or perhaps a calculated move as part of an exit strategy for Malaysia’s top leader.
One can only surmise the underlying reason(s) for Datuk Abdul Rahman’s response to BBC. Did he make the revelation because he had no choice since foreign media have already identified the prime minister as MO1 or was it his personal opinion? Nonetheless it is interesting to note that throughout the BBC interview he had underscored one pertinent fact, the DOJ had never out rightly mentioned the prime minister’s name.
It begs the question, why is this? If US authorities are certain of their findings thus far then they should have a clear conscience and make MO1’s identity known. The citizens of Malaysia have a right to know. It would also help avoid unnecessary confusion surrounding the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, which is already complex as it is for the average person.
As for the suggestion that Dato’ Sri Najib is planning to step down, the notion is simply inconceivable because by all indications he remains firmly entrenched. The prime minister continues to enjoy the undivided support and loyalty of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) division chiefs as well as party members. Furthermore two by-elections and the Sarawak state elections saw BN coast to victory with increased margins compared with those in the 2013 general elections. The resounding victories were testament of voters’ confidence in Dato’ Sri Najib’s leadership.
Based on these factors alone it is highly unlikely that the prime minister will step down. In fact Dato’ Sri Najib is now well placed to take on a frail and divided opposition in the next general elections due by 2018. The 13th General Election should serve as a clear indication of strong mandate given by the people to him and he therefore needs to be democratically entrusted with that. But then again anything can happen from now till parliament is dissolved. Perhaps there may be more surprises in store as investigators in various countries carry out their probes.
Casius Junut is an independent political and economic analyst and Malaysian Access reader. Article written is strictly his personal view. Malaysian Access does not necessarily endorse the opinions given by any third party content provider.