“The trouble with the international community and the Opposition buggers is, they see our Prime Minister (Najib Razak) as a wuss because of his calm and paternal-like demeanour. After the robust and dynamic administration of Tun M with his larger-than-life personality, the very fact that Najib is calm, cool and collected is cause for them to walk all over him. They think! Like how the bullies in school treat those of a smaller build than them, these megalomaniacs think that what they read on social media and reports by their CIA operatives here is an indication that our PM and his Cabinet can be treated like doormats. Yes, there are times when my friends and I are equally frustrated with his moves and policies, but what many fail to realise is, we love our PM, warts and all. Because we know that while he is also undergoing a growth spurt, just like the country, he has something not many of us do: he has breeding and a pedigree.

“He may have some idiotic advisors who are clueless about governance and engaging the grassroot support, and of course the wolves in sheep’s clothing that are found in every administration worldwide, but when the country is in what is undeniably the worst act of treason by certain people, we will stand by him and his team. Do not be threatened by the nay-sayers, the rude shitfaces and the losers. For every idiot that exists on FB and on the street, there are two who have dignity and empathy and only want peace and harmony in the country. So this is the time where we stand tall and stand behind all that the country represents: Unity, Grace, Harmony, Success and Beauty. It is a time for coming together, instead of falling apart. Take heart, family and friends of MH370, we will get to the bottom of this. #PrayForMH370 & Malaysia. – This was the FB post by Hasnah Abdul Rahman, the writer of this article and Chief Editor of NMH, during the MH370 tragedy of 2014.

This article is the third and final segment of our Prime Ministers and I series under the Know Your Politician. Or Not! column. The first part was on Mahathir Mohamad while part 2 was on Abdullah Badawi.

The Crises

The MH370 and the MH17 crises were the beginning of my respect for Datuk Sri Najib, Malaysia’s sixth Prime Minister. But at that time, I was just a follower of his policies and transformation programmes for the country. Although he had only spent nine years as the Prime Minister and more than two decades earlier in various positions in the Cabinet, he has done much for the country and its economy as a PM than Mahathir Mohamed as PM4 and PM7 where he ‘ruled’ for 22 years plus 22 months respectively. Najib’s handling of the crises, together with his Cabinet members earned my respect, to this day. He believed in empowerment, letting his Cabinet members take the limelight so they could shine on their own. For example, Hishammuddin Hussein, who handled the two crises exemplarily.

Among the accolades that could be attributed to him during his tenure was the World’s Longest Bull Run – a 12-year streak, among others. The run started in 2008, as the nation’s economy emerged from the global financial crisis. It came close to ending last year when the index dropped 18%, but it recovered and the stretch persisted until February 2020. All due to Najibnomics as he was PM from 2009-2018. Other attributes included the 1Malaysia concept that propagated inclusivity in all that we do – especially among the racial and religious groups, the various strata of society, as well as the various states, especially Sabah and Sarawak. Then of course the various aid programmes for the needy: BR1M, SL1M, Klinik 1Malaysia and plenty more where that came from.

Najib was the only Prime Minister who dared to introduce the GST which ultimately were used by the Opposition parties to influence the citizens into thinking that they were being bullied into paying more taxes to the government. Today, the Perikatan Nasional government is mulling over the possibility of reintroducing the GST as a revenue-earner after the PH government abolished the GST only to realise that they were facing massive losses.

Foreign Diplomacy At Its Peak

Apart from domestic contributions, Malaysia under Najib enjoyed the kind of respect from the neighbouring countries and foreign powers that was not seen in previous years, especially during the 22 years under Mahathir who was recalcitrant and just wanted to fight with anyone who does not agree with him. The ASEAN bloc were in awe of us, China was our friend and major trading partner, the Arab countries were our friends too, with lots of benefits, the US and European nations were friendly towards us, despite them giving financial contribution to the opposition to topple the Barisan Nasional government, many times. All in all, Malaysia was standing tall and proud, not only domestically, but internationally. His transformation programmes were legendary.

On a personal level, I did not have much interaction with him when I was with the press corps then. However, I interacted with his officers quite a bit when I was a public relations practitioner and organised a number of events for our clients who wanted Najib Razak as a guest of honour. Among these events was the London Business School Alumni conference in 2014 to enhance Malaysia-Singapore cooperation and it had the Deputy Prime Ministers of both countries on one platform. Najib was at that time the Deputy Prime Minister while his Singapore counterpart was Wong Kan Seng, a LBS Alumni. It was interesting as I could be up close and personal with both Deputy Prime Ministers then and I even had to arrange a four-eyed meeting between them.

Nevertheless, we can read about all his contributions during his tenure as Prime Minister on the web. What I’d like to share here was what happened after May 2018 when the incumbent Barisan Nasional that was at the helm for more than 60 years, lost to the Opposition for the first time. Today, we can all see that the BN government was brought down due to lies and the court of public perception. This then led on to the chain of events where Najib, his family members and other Barisan Nasional leaders were brought to court and tried for ridiculous charges that do not make sense while at times the court sessions seemed like a kangaroo court.

With anger and disappointment felt by the Barisan Nasional supporters, especially the supporters of Najib, a few friends and I decided that we should test the market. Let us see how popular Najib is after he is no longer the Prime Minister without the perks that come with the title. In fact, we were brave, as many of his previous supporters and staff were afraid to be seen openly supporting him. Not surprising, really, as the PH government were on the lookout for the Najib supporters, especially those working in the government sector to ensure that there would be no more loyalty for this ex-PM. We were even prevented to hold the events at certain places, while at some venues we had to change them the night before the event itself as we were prevented to carry on with the set-up as the venue owners were pressured by the PH government officials from allowing us to proceed.

The Events We Organised

Our attributes when it came to Najib Razak was to remind the citizens about his legacy, his contribution to the country and what he stood for. It began with the Hari Raya Open House do at the Diplomat, then other major events which included the 1Malaysia Merdeka Picnic, the River of Life Walkabout and the Kerinci Residensi legacy series. Everything was paid for by supporters’ contributions. That showed how much love they have for him. There were other smaller events like his birthday celebrations, tahlil prayers which always included the Tahfiz students and orphans, showing support during the court cases, as well as the various walkabouts during the by-elections.

The Hari Raya Open House 2018 at The Diplomat was the gamechanger where it boosted his popularity even after his fall. More than 1,300 guests attended, out of whom 30% were non-Malays as they remembered his inclusivity to lift all the races up via his 1Malaysia programmes. – Photo compilation by NMH Editorial
The 1Malaysia Merdeka picnic at the Lake Gardens. The supporters who attended could not believe that they were at a picnic with their favourite ex-Prime Minister. – Photo compilation by NMH Editorial
Remembering Najib’s contribution where he transformed the PPR flats into attractive condominium-like residences. The day before the event which was supposed to be held at an air-conditioned hall in the Residensi, we were asked to move our venue to a carpark. But Najib being the gentleman that he is, he took it all in stride and stood on a mobile stage to
address the crowd.- Photo compilation by NMH Editorial
The River of Life Walkabout to remember his legacy to transform the muddied Klang and Gombak Rivers and turning into what was internationally-acknowledged as one of World’s 10 Best Waterfront Projects. – Photo compilation by NMH Editorial

The major event we organised in PWTC was the Town Hall Session for leaders of Barisan Nasional. Held on 06 April 2019, more than a thousand attendees were given an insight into what the New Malaysia politics as expounded by PH, meant for the people and how disastrous it is for the country as well.

The first time ever, all the Barisan Nasional leaders shared the same stage at a Town Hall session held in 2019 at the Putra World Trade Centre. – Photo compilation by NMH Editorial

Because we were brave to openly be seen with him, everyone else later joined us, ultimately giving birth to the BossKu phenomena and the massive crowds that gathered and took selfies with him wherever he went.

Today, despite the court cases and the twists and turns that were attempts to make him look like a corrupt and unscrupulous Prime Minister, he stands tall as he takes the various government officials and politicians to task should they step out of line. His Facebook posts are like what we can find on Google without having to Google for the info. He presents facts and figures that were most prevalent during his time as the Prime Minister. It was almost as though he is STILL the Prime Minister!

What is going to happen to him and other Barisan Nasional leaders is left to be seen, only time will tell. Meanwhile, we can take a leaf from him: that you can transform your life, even after you fall and still be gracious about it. – New Malaysia Herald

Editor’s Note: So who do you think of the three was Malaysia’s best Prime Minister? Select your choice in our poll here:

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