Sunday, July 12, 2009

Che Det bagi NAJIB "Thumb Down"

Malaysia's former leader Mahathir Mohamad on Friday gave a THUMBS DOWN to Prime Minister Najib Razak's first 100 days in office, saying there has been "MORE NEGATIVES THAN POSITIVES" under the new administration. Since taking power April 3, Najib has implemented a wide range of economic reforms to woo foreign investors as the country faces its first recession in a decade.

Mahathir, who retired in 2003 but remains an influential political figure, slammed Najib's move to roll back an affirmative action program for ethnic Malay Muslims, including scrapping a requirement for Malays to own 30 percent equity in some sectors in the financial services industry.

Companies seeking to list on the stock exchange also no longer need to allot 30 percent shares for Malays. In addition, Mahathir also objected Najib's plans to build a third bridge to neighboring Singapore and said he hasn't taken concrete steps to fight corruption.

"I'm sorry to say this, there are more NEGATIVES than positives," he told reporters.

Mahathir, was Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister, in power between 1981 and 2003. He holds no government post but his views are widely respected.

Mahathir ran a fierce public campaign that helped pressure Najib's predecessor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, to step down in March, four years before his term expired.

Despite Mahathir's assessment, the independent Merdeka Center research firm earlier this week said Najib's popularity rating was still THE LOWEST of all Malaysia's prime ministers in their first 100 days according to a telephone survey of about 1,000 voters nationwide.

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