KUALA LUMPUR, Apr 26 – Caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak expects the Barisan Nasional (BN) to deliver a “better result” in the 14th General Election (GE14) on May 9, than it had in the GE13.
In an interview with foreign media Bloomberg, the BN chairman said his optimism stemmed from several issues, including the inability of the loosely-formed opposition pact known as Pakatan Harapan, and that there was no movement for changing the government.
“We are reasonably confident of a good result. There is no movement for changing the government, I don’t see that. That’s not saying we will win with a huge majority … no, I am not going to predict that, but I am going to say that we are reasonably sanguine about the result,” he was quoted saying in the interview, the first with an international media outlet in more than three years.
The GE14, dubbed the ‘father of all elections’, will be the fiercest contest between the ruling coalition and the opposition parties, to date. Najib said his confidence was underscored by what he called “a motley collection of parties” that made up Pakatan Harapan and led by a 92-year-old former prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He was quoted saying that he did not see how the parties could be working together. In the interview, Najib also predicted that Pakatan Harapan would struggle to win votes after falling out with PAS which had helped in its performance in 2013, while the urban and Chinese voters who voted in 2013 in the hope of bringing change, were less motivated this time around.
“Now, today, they know it’s not possible. So, I think that euphoria has receded to a great extent,” he said, adding that he had also worked to strengthen Umno from within after firing his then deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and several others over the 1MDB issue. I believe in developing personal relationships within the party, so even in difficult times the party stood by me. They couldn’t shake me, the support base is strong,” he said.
He said the 1MDB was due to governance issue. “It’s been cleared, there’s been no wrongdoing — I stand by it”. On his falling out with Dr Mahathir, who had among others accused him of redrawing the electoral boundaries to the ruling party’s advantage, Najib pointed out that Dr Mahathir had himself presided over several district redraws and the recent changes were to “take into account some demographic changes.”
“I think he’s obsessed about control, about calling the shots, in fact, when we were quite close together, he even suggested establishing a council of elders. Of course, you can imagine who’s going to chair the council of elders and a sitting (caretaker) prime minister after every cabinet, I suppose I would have to march to his office to get his consent. He wanted me to do his bidding,” he was quoted saying. — Bernama