Asia Malaysia To seize the narrative from Najib, the opposition revives Barisan-buster hero

To seize the narrative from Najib, the opposition revives Barisan-buster hero

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Rafizi Ramli, who is hardly known outside Malaysia, is most likely one of the key reasons the Barisan Nasional lost the 2018 elections. He is also known as Malaysia’s most prominent whistleblower.

While most analysts credit former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad with toppling Najib Razak, Rafizi played a key part in the historic loss of a Malaysian Prime Minister in a general election.

Regardless, the issue is whether Mr Ramli would have his way this time, and if so, what does he add to Pakatan that it does not already have.

The return of the Keadilan hero (Keadilan is the party of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim) to active politics might cause additional divisions within Pakatan Harapan, but it could also cause problems for Najib and the Umno.

Najib did all in his ability as Prime Minister to prevent Rafizi from defending his position as an MP. Rafizi was unable to run for office in the 2018 general elections due to a series of judicial cases against him.

In August 2017, a Malaysian High Court in Kuala Lumpur maintained his 18-month prison term for unauthorised access to the 1MDB audit report. This was in breach of the Official Secrets Act 1972.

As a result, Rafizi was unable to run in the GE14 due to his conviction and 18-month prison term.

Following the GE14, Rafizi was freed on an RM10,000 good behaviour bond tied over for two years in one surety over the OSA conviction by the Court of Appeal on June 1, 2018.

Return to Keadilan

Rafizi is vying for the position of deputy leader (deputy President) of the Keadilan after his official return to active politics. Some are accusing him of trying to topple Anwar Ibrahim and that he would challenge Anwar in the party polls.

In an interview with Malaysiakini, Rafizi has made known his agenda for the party and for the Pakatan Harapan.

He says former Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has essentially become the de facto opposition after using his social media to “hijack” the opposition’s capacity to “engage with people on a daily basis.”

Thus, says Rafizi, he is ready to take back that initiative from Najib to boost Pakatan Harapan’s appeal to voters in the upcoming general election.

“I think what has been missing so much (from Harapan) in the last two to three years is the ability to connect on a day-to-day basis with voters. To make matters worse, that ability has been hijacked by Najib.

“He took the populist approach to voice out day-to-day issues that we used to do when we were the opposition. So, effectively, Najib is the de facto opposition to the government,” Rafizi said in the interview.

He acknowledges that such work is difficult and time-consuming, requiring extensive investigation and follow-up.

For instance, he stated in 2010 that he sought to influence Malay views against corruption by demonstrating to them that corruption is terrible and will harm the Malay community.

to do that, he focused on the Malay institutions that were rotting after 60 years under Umno’s rule. He started to talk on the Tabung Haji, the Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) and Felda, three pivotal institutions in the country.

“Putting the narrative and connecting with the masses is a lot more than just Twitter or speeches in Parliament. You really have to connect with them and that’s a lot of work which takes consistency and that is what Najib is doing now.nThat initiative has to be taken back from Najib,” Rafizi says.

The man with the plan

He said Harapan members had become accustomed to being kept informed about what was going on in the nation at the time, and that the coalition should attempt to do so again.

“It is not enough to say we are Harapan and we are better than Umno.

“They (the voters) actually want to know, if you say the prices should go down, how exactly do you intend to do it? What is wrong with the current process? When you say, it is due to AP (approved permit), who actually got the AP?

“They want to see you carry this through until fruition, at risk to yourself, and this takes a lot of discipline, and I think that narrative has been missing,” said the former lawmaker.

After the PH took power, Rafizi was sidelined by the Mahathir administration and he was given no role to play in the new government.

This was of no use to him or the PH. Umno online bullies taunted him, asking what happened to the low-fuel-price programme and why the PH administration didn’t close the toll gates.

He couldn’t respond since Mahathir had abandoned the Harapan manifesto for something else after becoming Prime Minister.

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