Thus, it is nothing short of strange, that Najib should use “British Boarding School,” which is meant to install discipline in a privileged environment anyway, to shore up his credentials as a fighter. At other times, his staffers have urged him to identify himself as a Bugis warrior. Yet when Mahathir invited Najib to various policy debates, the latter recoiled almost instantly.
By Mustaqim Abdullah
If caretaker Prime Minister Najib Razak does not have what Muhammad Ali the boxer called “the sting of the bee and the dance of the butterfly,” the former had better learn quickly.
In an interview to Bloomberg on April 26, Najib claimed that he was made of serious, indeed, sterner stuffings. His justification ? He had been to a British “boarding school.”
If this is the parameter of how tough one can be, Najib is way out his depth viz-a-viz the experience of his political opponents across the spectrum.
Although yet to be released, Anwar Ibrahim was jailed thrice – for almost 11 years in total! One does not even have to mention the physical and psychological abuse he went through. Mahathir, on the other hand, witnessed the colonization of Japan, and the independence of Malaya from the British in the 1940s, and has always taken anti colonialism as a main motif of his mental make up.
Mohammad Sabu, president of Amanah, too, was jailed. In his words: “I was put in under Internal Security Act, and out under Internal Security Act.” In the latter, Sabu was referring to his confinement in a small rural settlement in Negeri Sembilan way back in 1980s.
Dr Wan Azizah, the wife of Anwar Ibrahim, literally had to learn politics from the ground up, as the only way to counter check the state was to build, and form, a new party, which is how PKR came to be in 1998. One hasn’t even talked about the need to raise all the children up alone, while dabbing in national and international affairs.
Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng, too, had been imprisoned before. Liew Chin Tong was water cannoned during “Reformasi,” while Tony Pua is barred from leaving the country due to his constant exposure of the grand corruption of 1MDB.
Indeed, even the likes of Elizabeth Wong in PKR was subject to various harassment, and she came out of it unscathed, thanks to the motivation and encouragement of Anwar Ibrahim to be strong. She did and she survived a harrowing episode.
Indeed, Nga Kor Ming of DAP, averred that he had lost count of the number of times he was dragged to the police station, often traversing great distances, even though he was the Member of Parliament of Taiping. Nga faintly recalled that perhaps he had been arrested close to 40 times.
In fact, if the optic is focused on the likes of Maria Chin Abdullah in Bersih, who is now running for office under a PKR ticket, her experience is no less jarring. In fact, almost all the opposition figures, including Mahathir, have had to take some hits, both emotionally, financially, and otherwise. And, if the list is enlarged to include Tian Chua, the disqualified MP of Batu, who is now appealing for a reinstatement of the right to vote, the nightmarish recollection just does not end.
Thus, it is nothing short of strange, that Najib should use “British Boarding School,” which is meant to install discipline in a privileged environment anyway, to shore up his credentials as a fighter. He might as well add to his resume the need to eat a diet of quinoa due to his severe health restrictions against eating rice.
At other times, his staffers have urged him to identify himself as a Bugis warrior. Yet when Mahathir invited Najib to various policy debates, the latter recoiled almost instantly.
Indeed, one should add that Tony Fernandez, went to a British boarding school too. Yet, against all offs, he built Air Asia as one of the best fleets in the world.
Najib went through the same experience in United Kingdom only to find himself with a chip on his shoulder, and the perennial habit to talk down to his opponents. On May 9, a super tsunami of Malaysian opposition might well give him his first experience in the school of hard knocks. Stay tuned!