Opposition parties need to ‘let Najib go’ and focus on bread-and-butter issues

Barisan Nasional (BN) will most likely make a clean sweep of the next general election if opposition parties remain fragmented.

They are also “overly obsessed” with former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and were ignoring bread-and-butter issues affecting the voters.

That is the opinion of Associate Professor Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk.

“The fight in Malaysian politics is very personal – (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin (Yassin) is upset that Umno sacked him, (Tun Dr) Mahathir (Mohamad) has a grudge against Najib, and (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim and Dr Mahathir have a long history,” said Azeem, who is Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Centre for Policy Research and International Studies director.

“These personal grudges are blinding the opposition to the real problems – people are worried about how they are going to survive.

“The voters, especially in the rural areas, want to know how they will benefit if they elect someone. They do not care about Najib.

“Instead, Anwar, Muhyiddin and Dr Mahathir keep bringing up Najib and 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). To the voters, that is stale news,” he added.

Azeem said although convicted of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust, and money laundering, Najib was still a free man, pending his appeal at the Federal Court.

“But society has moved on. The opposition leaders clearly have not.

“The opposition leaders should let the courts decide Najib’s fate, and address the wants and needs of the people.”

Azeem said while there were calls for Anwar to step down as Pakatan Harapan leader, and for Muhyiddin to pass the baton after Bersatu’s dismal showing at the Johor elections, this would not change anything.

“The only way for the opposition to defeat BN is to be united. BN only won 43 per cent of the popular vote in Johor,” he said.

“If there had been straight fights, the opposition could have won more seats, or even the state.

“Instead, they divided the voters, and were beaten.”

He said the opposition leader must be accepted by all the parties, and must appeal to Malaysians of all races and ages.

“If people do not want the same old faces, why not Anwar’s daughter, Nurul Izzah?

“Sharing power is the way to win the elections. PKR needs to understand it is an urban party and will not win many votes in rural areas.

“Likewise, Pas or Amanah, are regional parties that do not do well on the West Coast. The parties must decide where to contest in the next election.”

He added that the low voter turnout in recent state elections does not bode well for democracy. Part of the reason for the poor turnout is that people are fed-up with politicking, and are disillusioned with the leaders.

“The opposition parties need to win back the trust of the people, go back to the drawing board, and figure out how to address the needs of the masses,” he added.

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