Malaysia

PM: Reforms will fail if opposition states not back in BN fold

By Yow Hong Chieh
March 18, 2012
Latest Update: March 19, 2012 03:02 am

Najib told an audience of former senior civil servants today, “…We are at war, the mother of all battles.” — file picNajib told an audience of former senior civil servants today, “…We are at war, the mother of all battles.” — file picSHAH ALAM, March 18 — The government’s ambitious transformation plans will not succeed unless opposition-held states are back under Barisan Nasional (BN) control, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.

The prime minister stressed that only a government with a “huge mandate” from voters can ensure the necessary stability to effect the changes needed to propel Malaysia to developed nation status by 2020.

“The transformation policy will not be achieved if these states are not run by BN,” he told close to 700 mainly Malay former senior civil servants at De Palma Hotel here.

“We need a strong government because only that will guarantee the stability of the nation... If we are to effect changes, we need a strong government.”

Also present at the event were Selangor Umno deputy chairman Datuk Seri Noh Omar and Selangor MCA chief Datuk Donald Lim.

Najib, however, stressed that there is “not much time left” before the coming general election and urged the former civil servants to act as ambassadors for the current administration.

“Please talk good about the government. That’s the way to help. When speaking in private, try to defend the government. Try to be our spokesman, our lawyer,” he said.

While admitting that it is not perfect — pointing to the poor implementation of previous Bumiputera initiatives — the BN chairman nonetheless said the ruling coalition is “far better than the other side.”

Najib added that the concept of fielding only “winnable candidates” is the final hurdle in BN’s election plans and said all supporters should accept choices made by the coalition’s leaders.

“The choice must be supported by every one of us because we are at war, the mother of all battles. And if we speak of the mother of all battles, we must make preparations...,” he said.

“And there must be a chain of command. If the general says attack, you must all attack at the same time. We cannot win unless we move as a team. And when we are committed, God willing, Selangor will be returned to us.”

Najib will lead BN into polls for the first time in the coming general election, with observers saying he must improve on the coalition’s dismal 2008 outing and return its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority to stay in power.

The son of Malaysia’s second prime minister, Tun Abdul Razak, he replaced Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in April 2009, a year after BN suffered its worst electoral outcome ever, ceding 82 federal seats and four state governments.

The prime minister has often emphasised the need for BN to recapture these four states, especially the nation’s richest state, Selangor.