Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has been accused of not making decisions. His critics say he allows issues to fester in the hope that they solve themselves over time. The real issue here is his critics will still criticise him never mind what he does. If he makes a decision they will criticise him. If he does nothing they will also criticise him.
That is the culture of opposition politics in Malaysia. They will oppose you for the sake of opposing and even if you do the right thing. If you act immediately they will ask why in such a hurry? Why do things so fast? And if you do not act or you take your time to act they will ask why no action or why act so slowly?
Take Anwar Ibrahim’s ‘Sodomy 1’ trial as an example. Anwar’s appeal against his conviction was during Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s tenure as Prime Minister. That appeal took one year to resolve and everyone screamed that justice delayed is justice denied. Why take so long to resolve the appeal?
Then the appeal against Anwar’s acquittal on the ‘Sodomy 2’ charge was done as soon as the written judgement was settled. And it was settled faster than the ‘Sodomy 1’ trial because of the new ruling from the Chief Justice that all written judgements must be settled within six months.
So the appeal was filed soon after the trial and everyone asked why so fast? Why have the appeal barely a few months after the trial?
You take one year and they complain. You take a few months and they also complain. Whatever you do, they will still complain. That is what I mean by the opposition culture of always complaining never mind what you do.
So Najib is too slow to act. But when he acts fast he will also get criticised. One thing that we can give Najib credit for, however, is that he considers all angles before acting because there are so many issues to consider before coming to a decision.
Anwar, however, is always known to act in haste. This has been his trademark since his days in government. He, as the Malays would say, melenting and then when he realises he made a mistake he would embark upon damage control.
The Kajang Move is one such example. When he wanted certain things done and Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim would not agree he decided to get rid of Khalid. So the Kajang Move was launched.
When he launched the Kajang Move he assumed DAP and PAS would support it and when they did not he had to do damage control by getting them to endorse it after the fact.
A smart politician would have covered all his bases by first securing the consent of DAP and PAS. Anwar assumed that since Khalid is a PKR member then PKR alone has the authority to decide. But the Selangor government is a Pakatan Rakyat government and not a PKR government. In fact, PKR is the minority with only 14 seats compared to DAP and PAS, which have 15 seats each.
Anwar finally managed to get DAP to swing over to his side and that was only because he no longer had Karpal Singh to contend with. Remember when Karpal said Anwar has caused so much damage, that he is not fit to be the opposition leader, and he asked Anwar to bertaubat?
Karpal would have whacked Anwar good and proper for his Kajang Move were he still around.
Then Anwar found that PAS would not swing over like DAP did. So he decided to sack Khalid from the party to pressure PAS.
Then Khalid went before HRH the Sultan and Tuanku agreed to allow Khalid to continue as Menteri Besar. And now Anwar has called a meeting to get 30 signatures to force HRH the Sultan’s hand.
But to get these 30 signatures he needed two more from PAS so now Anwar has caused two PAS representatives to break ranks and defy their own party. That has very serious repercussions on PAS.
That move might get Anwar his 30 signatures but it was a move done in haste that can only hurt Pakatan Rakyat.
Anwar acts only for today and let tomorrow take care of itself. Najib, in spite of what they say about him, makes decisions for the long term and not for immediate gains.
And that is the difference between Najib and Anwar.