- William Shakespeare in King Henry the Fourth, Part II
Not flattering for Malaysian PM Ahmad Abdullah Badawi (AAB).
The Emirates news online Khaleej Times (carrying an AFP article) stated that AAB is still trying to find his leadership feet after two years at the Malaysian helm. It went on to describe the overpowering presence of the previous PM, Dr Mahathir Mohamed, who still casts large shadows over AAB.
But the cause of AAB jittery political reign is more than just Dr Mahathir’s presence and occasional utterance. AAB has been too timid and not serious and comprehensive enough in his anti-corruption actions, or even any other actions. Thus he presents an ineffectual picture of his leadership and pre-election promises. His well-known hesitation and snail-pace decision-making have been criticised for missing opportunities to clean up the humongous mess that is Malaysian bureaucracy today.
His supporters argued that some slow but significant progress have been made while the opposition believes AAB is merely tinkering around the edges of a monumental corruption problem, which is symptomatic of a man not confident of his leadership or powers and thus unwilling to commit fully to the unpleasant and Herculean tasks of cleaning up Malaysia.
Even allowing for the Mahathir factor and AAB's natural caution, I am disappointed that present PM continues to remain silent, and allows unreprimanded and unchecked, the bigoted comments some members of his UMNO party have been making.
It has been in those very racist political utterances, in which AAB has demonstrated either a reluctance to address immediately and appropriately or a pretence in not noticing, that have persuaded the Malaysian public to believe he is not in control of the political leadership, and that the ruling party UMNO is now in an ongoing power struggle.
The few actions he had taken, posed as anti-corruption measures, have been viewed in that light too, as consequences of the ruling party’s power struggle rather than an anti-corruption action per se.
AAB - so much promise in the beginning (Bao Gong and all those sycophantic titles the MCA had bestowed upon him), yet so little to show after two years.
And the hungry sharks of UMNO, present and former, having sensed blood, are circling in the wings to move in for the kill. The prize is control of resource-rich Malaysia and her assets.