Anyone who has read my election related posts knows that I was generally pleased with the results. I wanted Najib to continue leading this country but for the opposition to make gains, and this was not unexpectedly the case. However, I think many will agree with me when I say that since the election, the Najib administration's performance has been dismal, unexciting, oddly silent and incredibly disorganized. One thing I didn't anticipate, was for a weakened mandate to cower Najib into the fetal position.
While his leadership during the first 4 years in power was commendable, though hardly exceptional, the weak electoral mandate has rendered Najib vulnerable to attacks from within his party. He cannot make bold policy changes because a single misstep could see him lose further support among the "rakyat" and lend his critics an opportunity to unseat him in favor of someone else (Tun Razaleigh Hamzah, perhaps?) His continued silence on the issues of the day (Utusan's divisive reactions to the elections, rising gun-related crime, continued growth of conservative Islamic influence) only reinforce his enigmatic personality. While I was hoping his win would embolden him to reveal his true direction for the nation, in actuality, because the win was unconvincing, he has done the exact opposite. There have been no new policy initiatives since the May 5th election. His lack of presence is beginning to make me wonder if the enigma is just a facade for hollowness. Maybe I cannot find direction because there is none, maybe this boat really is without a captain?
Unfortunately, I will have to wait until after the UMNO General Assembly in December to ascertain this claim. Najib should not find it too difficult to win reelection as president of the party, after which, only an emboldened approach to leadership will give him and his party any shot of holding on to power in the 14th general elections, due in 2018. While urban voters demand greater freedom of speech and transparency, ultimately how he handles the country's finances/economy and public safety will determine his fate as Prime Minister.