GEORGE TOWN: The Opposition may appear confident in efforts to topple the Prime Minister and take over Putrajaya but does not have the same amount of confidence to begin by contesting against Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the Pekan parliamentary seat.
For one thing, they know well enough to steer clear of Najib’s stronghold of 41 years no matter how strong a candidate they may have.
“Pekan is another level altogether and a whole different ball game for the Opposition as the Opposition knows Najib is undefeatable there.
“It can be for two reasons; for one thing, it’s a seat inherited from his late father Tun Abdul Razak Hussein so there is a strong sentimental value there and another thing is that it is simply because Najib is Prime Minister so of course people there will support him.
“Things get done there as it is the Prime Minister’s domain and the people of Pekan have things to their advantage and of course because Najib is already a familiar face as he was also Pahang Menteri Besar from 1982 to 1986,” political analyst Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia told Malaysia Outlook when contacted.
Najib was elected to Parliament in 1976, replacing his father in the Pekan seat following the latter’s passing.
Sivamurugan said it is obvious that to contest in Pekan is like committing political suicide for anyone despite Najib’s rather thin win in 1999 with a majority of just over 200 votes.
It appears that the saying “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” seems to apply to Najib as he went on to secure the seat in the following general elections, each time with a stronger comeback.
For Prof Azizuddin Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), contesting the Pekan seat will be a waste of time and money for anyone.
“The Opposition does not seem to even consider Pekan as they are well aware of Najib’s sure win and will not waste their time, energy and especially money in Najib’s stronghold.
“Anyone wishing to contest the seat should be prepared for a tough fight as we’re talking about contesting against someone who has been in the seat for 41 years and is already a very familiar face with him being Prime Minister,” he said when contacted.
He also said that the Opposition realise Pekan is definitely a black area for them as it is Barisan Nasional’s (BN) white area.
He also echoed Sivamurugan’s opinion that contesting in Pekan is akin to political suicide.
Asked to comment on former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s announcement in July that he was open to contesting in Pekan in the 14th general election, Azizuddin described it as a political gimmick.
He pointed out that despite attempts to topple Najib, the Opposition was never “brave” or “daring” enough to express interest in contesting against the Prime Minister in his hometown until Dr Mahathir did.
Gerakan’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau chairman Datuk Baljit Singh said the Opposition can’t even come up with their shadow Cabinet and is unsure who will be Prime Minister let alone to identify a candidate strong enough to contest in Pekan.
“Contesting there will be like offering oneself to become a sacrificial lamb.
“Najib has done a lot for Pekan and this is translated into votes by the people there,” Baljit said adding that the people there trusted Najib with their constituency as he is the Prime Minister running the country.
Meanwhile, he pointed out that there is no serious thought on the agenda of the Opposition to take over Putrajaya as everyone is running in different directions with their own agenda and differing views on issues such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) if they run Putrajaya.
“All the talks of ousting Najib is only rhetoric as they don’t even dare contest against him no matter the strength, not even Kit Siang or Anwar,” he said, referring to DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang and PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
He also shared the opinion that the opposition knows even putting someone influential in Pekan will be a waste.
In other words, there must be something about Pekan and Najib as folks there appear unfazed by all the negative talks about their MP and continue to support him. – MO