GE14: A resounding victory is expected for BN under Najib

By Jamari Mohtar

May 8, 2018

We have come to the final lap of the 14thGeneral Election (GE 14) with just a day left before Polling Day.

On March 28, which is a month before Nomination Day, I have written that the question is no longer whether the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) will triumph in GE 14. BN will definitely win! The issue then was whether BN would be able to regain its two-thirds majority.

I had also predicted then BN is set to regain its two-thirds majority with the proviso that one week in politics is such a long time that anything goes, as far as outcome of a GE is concerned.

But with one more day left before Polling Day, the die is somewhat more or less cast already, as obviously a day to the countdown, things are shaping up a bit more compared to a hazy fuzzy notion when the countdown is about a week or more to go.

So, which party will be the winner?

A majority of political analysts and observers have now joined the bandwagon of forecasters predicting BN will win. For more details on this, see:

http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2018/05/07/bn-romp-home-ge14-victory-analysts-predict

http://malaysiandigest.com/frontpage/282-main-tile/735967-are-banks-really-paid-to-predict-a-bn-win-in-ge14-read-this.html

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/421829

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/malaysia-election-barisan-nasional-likely-to-hold-sabah-say-10210514

http://www.malaysia-today.net/2018/05/03/opposition-pact-to-be-reduced-to-less-than-80-seats/

So far, none has predicted a BN victory with a two-thirds majority. Most see it as a current norm for a government with a simple majority, as seen today in many countries with a parliamentary democracy.

But is the attainment of a two-thirds victory for BN really out of the question? I don’t think so. Here’s why I think there is more than a 60% chance for BN regaining its two-thirds majority.

Sabah and Sarawak

In GE13, out of the 133 seats won by BN, a third of it was contributed by BN’s fixed deposit states – Sabah and Sarawak.

This time around, the two East Malaysia’s states can be expected to contribute more seats to BN for the simple reason of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak’s frequent and tireless visits to the two states during the lead-up to GE14 and even during campaigning itself.

This is opposed to a nil visit by the major leaders of the Opposition, especially Pakatan Harapan’s supremo Tun Mahathir.

If time and again, Sabah and Sarawak have been proven to be the fixed deposit states of BN during election time, contributing to BN’s success at the polls, it makes more sense for the Opposition to campaign there as often as they can.

Instead, they were so peninsular-centric in their campaign strategy that it seems they have forgotten Sabah and Sarawak are parts of Malaysia. They have forgotten the painful lesson that they would have won GE13 if not for the role of Sabah and Sarawak as BN’s fixed deposit states.

But for the sake of argument, even if Tun Mahathir were to campaign in Sabah and Sarawak, it will not amount to very much, firstly because of his gaffe in describing Sarawakians as a bunch of lazy, greedy and slow people.

This is proof of at 93, his mental capacity has degenerated to the extent that he can’t tell the difference between the strategic value of when to open his mouth and when to keep it shut in the lead-up to GE14.

Secondly, Tun Mahathir’s missing in action (MIA) in Sabah and Sarawak is yet another proof that at 93, he just doesn’t have the stamina to criss-cross the whole of Malaysia to try his luck at becoming the so-called 7thPrime Minister of Malaysia, simply because his ageing body wouldn’t allow him to do that.

In the case of Sabah, the Opposition is banking on Datuk Shafie Apdal’s Warisan Party. But being new, the party has no track record. Shafie’s track record is all about when he was in Umno, serving as one of its Vice Presidents.

It’s difficult to see him carrying Sabah, as he is strongest only in his home base in Semporna (not the kretek Sampoerna) because of the fractious nature of the Opposition there. Moreover, he is also embroiled in the politics of hate – his grudges against the Chief Minister of Sabah, Datuk Musa Aman is legendary among Umno politicians.

Advantages of incumbency

In a parliamentary democracy like Malaysia, BN as the incumbent ruling coalition, is afforded with many advantages which among other things include the advantage of calling an early election (surprise advantage), the advantage of re-drawing electoral boundaries and the advantage of being still the government while campaigning is on.

These are provided for in the constitution – a universal phenomenon everywhere in the world in a parliamentary democracy. No opposition party anywhere in the world has ever sought to rescind these constitutional provisions on winning an election for the first time. Apparently, it too wants to enjoy these constitutional advantages on assuming power!

Redress or remedies for any perceived or real abuses of the implementation of these constitutional provisions can always be sought through the court.

Moreover, in a first-past-the-post system like Malaysia, Singapore, Britain and many other commonwealth countries, winning the popular votes is meaningless if you don’t win enough seats. But it doesn’t mean that with all these advantages of the incumbent, it is impossible for the Opposition to win the election.

Japan’s Opposition had proven this to be possible, when it put an end to a 54-year almost continuous winning streak of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in 2009, when the opposition Democratic Party (DP) won a crushing election victory.

Japan’s DP managed to do this with sheer hard work over the years whose result can only be realised many years later and not just in 10 years or less, as wished by the Malaysian opposition which tried to win with a lazy and populist short-cut via “an orgy of fake news and doctored photos”, as mentioned by blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin (See http://www.malaysia-today.net/2018/05/05/daps-red-bean-armys-orgy-of-fakes-news-and-doctored-photos/)

Taking over Mahathir’s liability

The most fatal flaw in the Opposition strategy is when it decided to make Mahathir the top dog of Pakatan Harapan and also made him their PM designate.

In all elections after Mahathir has retired, especially in GEs12 and 13, he remained a liability to Umno and BN despite being just an Umno member, and not a candidate.

All the dark episodes of his 22 year rule such as the Lallang Ops, the detention of Nik Adli Nik Aziz under the ISA in what can be seen as a politics of hate just to spite the then MB of Kelantan for bringing the state under PAS in 1990, and the BNM Forex Scandal, Umno and BN has had to defend his record.

In 2016, he did a big favour to Umno and BN when he voluntarily sacked himself from Umno, formed a new party and mutually embraced his former political foe Lim Kit Siang of the DAP by politically sleeping with the enemy.

Since then, the liability for his 22 years of misrule was taken off from Umno and BN shoulders and transferred to PH, putting the Opposition at a severe disadvantage. 

Opposition in disarray

When the vulgar-mouth DAP leader Nga Kor Ming was to be introduced as a candidate for Teluk Intan as a ministerial material candidate by Lim Guan Eng, Mahathir was supposed to be present at that event to give a boost to the candidacy by getting the Malay voters there to support Kor Ming.

But at the eleventh hour, Mahathir was unable to be present because he was not feeling well and instead sent his video recording of his speech.

Since a physical appearance is very much different from a video appearance in term of impact, Kor Ming must have been feeling slighted since he has made a sacrifice to move from a Chinese majority area of Taiping to the mixed constituency of Teluk Intan in order to be a giant killer by killing the political career of Gerakan Chief, Mah Siew Keong.

Perhaps in what can be seen as a tit-for-tat for Mahathir’s absence, Kor Ming in one of his ceramahs explained Mahathir’s chairmanship of PH as a case of using the old man to rally the Malays in bringing down Najib and once this is achived, DAP would henceforth assume power in Malaysia for the first time because by then Mahathir would be dead (he used the crude word of “mampos” to describe Mahathir’s death).

The Malays would surely feel appalled at his choice of words that he would soon lose the Malay votes in Telok Intan. PKR President, Datuk Wan Azizah, realising this, has made a scathing remark against Kor Ming, which resulted in an apology from the latter.

This is just one example of the opposition in disarray. The much talked about rivalry between Wan Azizah and PKR’s Deputy President Azmin Ali on the one hand, and the rivalry between PKR’s Rafizi Ramli and Azmin on the other hand is another example of an opposition in disarray.

And just as the campaigning entered its last lap, we heard about the resignation of PKR Penang Youth Chief Asrol Sani Abdul Razak, along with 70 others over disappointment with the way issues have been handled in the state over the years.

And in Kubang Pasu (Mahathir’s bastion while he was PM), almost 440 PPBM members led by its division deputy information chief Ab Manaff Kechik, quit the party, citing their disappointment with Mahathir, whom they described as having “gone overboard” in his political approach.

More serious is the expose of Amran Ahmad, 41, an assistant producer for DAP’s official online television channel UbahTV, who said his party will distribute tens of thousands of materials containing slander against BN and PM Najib.

Amran, who is a former special officer to DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Guan Eng, also said the “malicious” propaganda material would be disseminated in stages until polling day.

There is more than meets the eyes to this expose when Lim Kit Siang responded with a no comment to reporters when asked about it at an event in Gelang Patah.

There is actually no dearth of stories to highlight the Opposition in disarray so the above suffice for this article.

The myth of a Malay Tsunami

In the beginning, you have the Chinese Tsunami in GE13 supporting the DAP-led Opposition in their quest for power. But sadly, they only won the meaningless popular votes without winning enough seats making them the loser.

Soon after, the Opposition becomes very excited with the myth of a Malay Tsunami in GE14.

When it was pointed out to them how can there be a Malay Tsunami when PAS is no longer a part of Pakatan Harapan, their answer was the confidence they have in PAN and later PBBM through Mahathir to deliver the Malay Tsunami.

Come Nomination Day, it was put to them that if the Malay Tsunami exists, why then is DAP still putting a majority of its candidates in Chinese majority areas, and not in Malay majority constituencies.

Soon the DAP realises that in their excitement with the myth of a Malay Tsunami, they have made the mistake of taking for granted that the Chinese Tsunami will be with them when sentiments are seen to have changed marginally in favour of MCA and Gerakan who are working very hard as underdogs to wrestle back their seats which was won by DAP in GE13.

One reason for this change in sentiment is the way the Opposition has ruled Penang and Selangor for the past 10 years with the Penang “Tunnel Vision” scandal and the Ijok Land scandal happening under their watch.

On top of this, Lim Guan Eng will go down in Malaysian history as the only election candidate carrying the title of the accused. Of course we cannot call him a thief yet until the outcome of his case is known after GE14, unlike his father and Mahathir who liberally use the word “thief” on Najib when Najib isn’t an accused or even a suspect in Malaysia’s court or the court of several countries that are investigating the 1MDB saga.

So now they are in a bind because not only is the Malay Tsunami a myth but their Chinese Tsunami reality is also going to crumble.

And Mahathir now no longer talks about the Malay Tsunami. On Day 9 of campaigning, he introduced another mythical concept, the Rakyat Tsunami, while at the same time, enlisting some dinosaurs of a bygone age to help him engineered a Rakyat Tsunami.

These are all a sign of desperados, because the rakyat will be again with BN assuming power.

Black Swan or Green Swan?

In the field of Strategic Foresight, the black swan theory or theory of black swan events is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight.

The term is based on an ancient saying that presumed black swans did not exist – a saying that became reinterpreted to teach a different lesson after black swans were discovered in the wild.

The theory was developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to explain:

  • The disproportionate role of high-profile, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance, and technology.
  • The non-computability of the probability of the consequential rare events using scientific methods (owing to the very nature of small probabilities).
  • The psychological biases that blind people, both individually and collectively, to uncertainty and to a rare event’s massive role in historical affairs.

The Opposition would like to believe that the Black Swan of GE 14 is the hard to predict Malay Tsunami.

I would advise them to take into consideration too the Black Swan of GE14 could be the hard to predict “Green Swan” when the party which does not have any desire to be the government and is merely contented to be the kingmaker, finds itself as the KING!!!

Advertisements

New dawn: The rise of PAS with a strategic mission

By Jamari Mohtar

May 19, 2017

IS former premier Tun Mahathir Mohamed who’s also the archrival of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, admitting defeat? If so, then this will be a strong signal that General Election 14 (GE 14) is so imminent because it would mean the already bright and rosy situation for Najib now is going to be brighter and rosier still, which could tilt the result of GE 14 in his favour in a big way.

In a recent news report based on what he has written on his blog, Mahathir said: “Whether or not PAS would work with Umno in GE 14, the Islamist party’s participation in the polls would reduce support for Pakatan Harapan (PH) and PAS itself. PH and PAS will lose and Barisan Nasional (BN) will win. This is PAS’ true struggle. It’s not for race and religion; it’s aimed at weakening the Malays.”

However, when I showed this news report to a group of friends who have openly espoused to me their support for the Islamist Pan-Malaysia Party (PAS) – though I cannot vouch whether they are card-carrying members – they were not as sanguine as my tentative conclusion was.

“The grand old man of Malaysian politics is so wily and cunning after breathing, sleeping, dreaming and scheming with Power for 22 years that you must take what he said with a pinch of salt; no, not a pinch but many pinches of salt.

“That seems to be his strategy: trying to indoctrinate the Malays that PAS is the troublemaker for splitting the Malays when he was the one who had split the Malays while still in power, and continues to split the Malays even when it is time for him to prepare for the meeting with his Maker,” said the most vocal among this group of friends.

The others started to chime in immediately before I could even make my point that the comment was indeed very harsh on someone who has done a lot for the country.

Among other things, they were asking me what Malays are Mahathir referring to because if it is the United Malays National Organization (Umno) Malays, the Democratic Action Party (DAP) Malays, the People’s Justice Party (PKR) Malays, the National Trust Islamic Party (PAN) Malays or the Malaysian United Indigenous Party (PPBM) Malays – all but Umno being the component parties of opposition coalition PH – then PAS is not interested in these Malays.

These devoted supporters of PAS are focused on PAS’ strategy to attract Malays who sincerely believe in the relevance of Islam in providing solutions to the multi-faceted problems of modern living, and also Malaysians of all races and religions who would want to listen and understand the universal message of Islam without prejudice.

There seems to be some forceful logic in this argument of PAS supporters simply because PAS is an Islamist party with Islam being seen as sacrosanct and a foundation for its existence and survival, while Mahathir being the chairman of a Malay party sounds like a sore loser who could already see defeat before even the battle (i.e. GE 14) had begun.

From the perspective of PAS followers and supporters, the inherent contradiction in Mahathir’s argument can be clearly seen in the context of his refusal to lend support to PAS in its pet Islamic project of amending the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 or RUU 355, and yet at the same time yearning for PAS to be a bedfellow in PH.

Shouldn’t that decision of being a fellow member of PH be up to PAS that should be respected by all, they asked? If in the unthinkable event that PAS chooses Umno/BN to be its bedfellow, there is nothing earth-shattering about this, for PAS had already done the unthinkable before by being a bedfellow of DAP in the past, much in the same manner that Mahathir is also doing the unthinkable by being a bedfellow of DAP now.

After all, Umno has helped PAS in making it possible for its president, Datuk Sri Abdul Hadi Awang to table the RUU 355 in Parliament. Moreover, Umno has also proven its worth when it comes to doing something for Islam as opposed to a brand new party that has nothing to offer yet at the moment, like PPBM in which Mahathir is the chairman.

Herein lies the talk about an emerging new PAS that is very refreshing, and takes very seriously the question of tactics and strategies instead of focusing merely on ideal or ideology in a rhetorical manner much like delivering a kuliah subuh (religious talk held after the fajr prayer in a mosque), as in the past.

That also seems to be the unspoken message of PAS when its influential Syura Council came out with a decision to officially sever ties with fellow oppositionist PKR on May 11.

Some observers see this as a first salvo aimed primarily at the PH coalition, and to some extent at the ruling coalition BN to take serious notice of an emerging PAS with a strategic mission and outlook.

Many thought that during the recent Muktamar or party congress beginning in late April, the motion to sever ties with PKR which was unanimously passed by the delegates was a mere rhetorical platitude, simply because the powerful and influential Syura Council did not discuss it at the congress then.

And even if the Syura Council were later to discuss the issue, the prevailing conventional wisdom then was that it wouldn’t dare to endorse the motion, as it will spell the end of PAS as a political force in Selangor, come snap election time. PAS is in a comfortable position in Selangor as part of the state government under PKR. But at this late hour when GE 14 could be called at anytime from now until June next year, PAS is very much aware the idea of a snap election in Selangor is just untenable.

And to top it all, the idea of cutting ties with PKR on the basis of the Islamic concept of Ta’awun (which means to help and compete with each other for the public good) is just a bit mind blowing, coming so soon after Abdul Hadi had expounded on the concept of Tahaluf Siyasi (political cooperation) during the Muktamar to explain some permissible aspects of political cooperation with Umno on issues such as the RUU 355 and support for the Rohingyas.

Some were even amazed at the discrepancy between words and actions, and wondered why can’t the cooperation between PAS and PKR in Selangor be continued under Tahaluf Siyasi instead of Ta’awun. Finally, others wondered what is the difference between Tahaluf Siyasi and Ta’awun?

Tactics and strategies

The key in understanding PAS’ latest strategy is to understand the mindset of the ulama (religious scholars), as the Syura council is basically PAS’ Council of Ulama.

In Islam, ulama are seen as the Inheritors of the Prophets (Warisatul Anbiya) and as such, decorum and due respect for them are to be accorded. This does not mean that one can’t disagree with them or passionately debate with them on issues of importance to the ummah or the nation, for there is no such thing as the concept of excommunication in Islam.

Also important, as mentioned earlier, is the foundational basis of Islam being the reason for the existence and survival of PAS which means the implementation of hudud laws, in however a small way, is the very raison d’être for its participation and existence in the political sphere.

The genius of PAS lies in recognizing that contrary to popular belief, the question of implementation of hudud laws per se is not a controversial issue among Muslims. What is controversial are the issues of timing, nature and scope of its implementation. PAS’ stance on the issue seems to be that these differences of opinion can be ironed out once the first small step of having the will to implement hudud is there.

And so it detested both the loud noises (DAP, MCA, MIC, PPBM and PAN) and the less loud (PKR and Umno) of anyone who opposes this first small step of tabling the RUU 355 in Parliament when these people know very well that tabling it doesn’t necessarily mean the Bill will be passed.

PAS expects that in the unique circumstances of Malaysia being a pluralistic and multi-racial society with its own unique social contract as defined by the Constitution which includes Islam being the official religion of the country by virtue of the Muslims being in the majority and the Malays as the indigenous sons of the soil, a legislature that is characterized by a system of Parliamentary democracy with a Constitutional Monarchy at its core, would be matured enough to allow the Bill to be tabled and discussed in Parliament.

PAS wants the RUU 355 to be discussed so that when a vote on it is finally taken, all would be well should the Bill be approved. If it is rejected, however, PAS will accept the rejection and will have to discuss and decide among its members whether to “fight” for another day or to disband the party, which will render it from becoming a political force in the country, since it has failed to meet its own raison d’être for its existence and survival.

Hence, PAS was shocked to see that all manner of obstacles were vehemently put in place to stop it from doing this small step with such vitriol as if the party is Public Enemy Number One in the legislature and country.

Seen from this perspective, PAS has now grown matured when Abdul Hadi and the Syura Council do not treat the terms Tahaluf Siyasi and Ta’awun as just mere words or actions the way the non-ulamas see these terms.

Instead they see both as two different strategies that are interwoven seamlessly on the basis of PAS’ assessment of itself as a political Kingmaker in the coming GE 14 to get back at those who mercilessly want to “kill” their political existence and survival.

Thus, seen in this light Tahaluf Siyasi is the operative principle for PAS to work with any political party that does not treat Islam/hudud as public enemy number one.

The break with PKR

Why then would PAS cut off ties with PKR under Tahaluf Siyasi and then downgrading the ties to Ta’awun, especially in Selangor?

Based on a media statement issued by Abdul Hadi on May 16, it has a lot to do with PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Kajang Move in 2014. When Hadi warned PKR not to be reckless on the issue of its three Selangor legislators by heeding the lessons from the Kajang Move, the media statement of Hadi tells more by its silence than by what it says.

In that fateful year, PKR and DAP conspired to let one of the latter’s legislators in the State Assembly of Selangor to resign in order that a by-election could be held in which Anwar will contest, and in the event of a victory, lead the Selangor State Government as Menteri Besar, as part and parcel of his ambitious journey to Putrajaya.

Abdul Hadi was not fully apprised of this Kajang Move by Anwar and Lim Kit Siang/Guan Eng at the initial stage. Had Abdul Hadi known the full details that early, he would have opposed it because it transgresses the Islamic concept of Bai’ah (Oath of Allegiance) that Abdul Hadi sees as compulsorily binding (wajib) between a legislator and the constituents that had voted him.

So he found it distasteful and unpalatable that a serving legislator should resign just to make way for another legislator at the Federal level to contest the state by-election in a power grab. More distasteful was the attempt to oust and shame the then PKR’s MB, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim who had done very well but refused to resign.

The Kajang Move became the final straw that broke the camel’s back, as it is clearly seen by Hadi as a form of disrespect to an Alim and relegating PAS to a backwater role in the now defunct Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

When it came to payback time, Abdul Hadi made it difficult for Anwar’s wish to see his wife, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who had contested the said by-election and won, from becoming the Menteri Besar. Wan Azizah once again has to adorn the mantle of a reluctant politician since Anwar was embroiled in the second sodomy case, which disqualified him from contesting.

So Ta’awun becomes the operative principle in a transitory relationship between PAS and PKR in order that both can work together in Selangor for the benefit of the people within the context of observing the principle of Bai’ah in which the three PAS legislators in Selangor are compulsorily mandated to serve their position in the State Exco until GE 14 is called.

GE 14: A look ahead

So what is PAS game plan for GE 14? Clearly, the party relishes on its role and strategy as a Kingmaker. This has already drawn fire from a former managing director of PAS newspaper, Harakah who had commented that it is pointless for PAS to participate in a GE if winning the election is not its objective.

But most of PAS rank and file supported this strategy. They know that by joining the PH, they would be marginalized and relegated by the other partners of PH to a fifth class political party. Even when Anwar was around, they were already being treated as the third among equals.

Moreover, their experiment with being a member of an opposition coalition had never led to the coalition winning the election, with at best only winning the meaningless popular vote, which did not give them the mandate to rule the country.

So they are left with the strategy that could capitalize on their strength – Muslim as opposed to Malay power. Numerical wise, Muslims have a slight majority over Malays because it includes non-Malay Muslim constituents, and this will give a wide berth for it to maneuver in the DAP, MCA and MIC constituencies if they play their cards well.

The reliance on Muslim power does not only include some rapprochements with Umno in certain areas which may include an electoral pact, but also with PAN whom PAS has never considered as an enemy but their lost child, even though members of PAN were the ones who had made the move to unseat the ulama but instead was upstaged by the latter in what could be seen as a testament of Abdul Hadi’s excellent brinkmanship. As for the non-Muslim constituents, PAS would be relying on beefing up their Friends of PAS wing to get the votes for them.

But what remains unsaid is the strong possibility that instead of a kingmaker, PAS may end up as a king itself if providence is on its side. This scenario was not lost on former Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim who’s now a DAP member, when he warned the opposition to consider seriously the potent combination with or without an electoral pact of the biggest Muslim party (Umno) and the second biggest Muslim party (PAS) ‘uniting’ to become a force to be reckoned with.

Unlike Zaid, the veteran former premier Mahathir who has proven to be a master tactician time and again when it comes to winning election prefers to highlight the Malay power and sidelines the Muslim power in order to show to PAS the folly of its move not to join PH and paint a lose-lose scenario with PAS losing more than PH that could wipe it out of existence, if PAS does not join the PH coalition.

But the chances of PAS heeding Mahathir’s call will be so slim because most PAS rank and file have a long memory of remembering how the former premier had treated a PAS icon, the late Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat in 1994 with a letter berating the latter mercilessly in a harsh tone without due regard and respect to his position as an alim for wanting to implement hudud in Kelantan.

The letter was in response to the plea of Nik Aziz to Mahathir for his assistance to facilitate the tabling of the hudud bill in the Federal Parliament after the bill was passed by the Kelantan legislature in 1993.

The letter ended with Mahathir’s overt threat that “the Federal Government will take appropriate action against the PAS government in order to maintain the dignity and prestige of Islam and its adherents” should the “State Government of PAS” persisted in its desire to implement hudud.

It is in this context that the PAS supporters whom I spoke to earlier at the beginning of the article were so harsh in their comments on Mahathir, as PAS had to suffer the ignominy of being condemned as a party who had passed the hudud laws but did nothing for more than 10 years to implement it.

“That is the major difference between Mahathir and Najib. You can call Najib by whatever negative epithets you want but at least he has the grace to respect the ulama who are his political opponents by visiting them at the hospital when they are sick and attending to their need in politics,” said the PAS supporter.

“Mahathir’s lieutenants may make fun of this hospital visit in their blogs but they forgot it is an Islamic adab that will earn merits in the sight of Allah to visit any sick person especially if he is your political nemesis, more so if he is an ulama. It is this political capital of respecting the ulama and not shaming them that will be sorely missing among Mahathir and his henchmen in the coming GE,” he added.