Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs said Ismail was a caretaker prime minister at best and predicted that the Umno vice-president would only remain in the top post until the next general election (GE15).
“This administration has been a weak and somewhat reluctant marriage of political convenience from the very onset. As such, it is quite commonplace that members or powerful advisers of the administration would feel free to voice their opinions.
“They can do so with political impunity since their consequential dismissal from the government would likely also spell the start of the administration’s end,” he said, referring to Najib Razak’s outspoken criticism of Putrajaya’s SOPs for Thaipusam celebrations.
Ismail’s human resources minister M Saravanan had also criticised the SOPs, warning that it had further eroded the Indian community’s trust in the government. The prime minister did not show up for the celebrations at Batu Caves, although Najib was there.
Oh said that Ismail, although he is prime minister, had not managed to garner a greater level of grassroot support than that enjoyed by Najib or Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
“Najib has solid aristocratic and Malay credentials that allow him to freely reach out to other communities without eroding his Malay base. This is something that Ismail can only envy from afar,” he said.
Ismail should count himself lucky that he even became prime minister and enjoy his “numbered days in power” as much as he can.
Universiti Sains Malaysia analyst Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid said Ismail needed to do more to connect with non-Malay communities. The prime minister was acting more like a politician when he should be a statesman, he said.
Fauzi acknowledged that Ismail’s political survival would be the priority for now, though his “Keluarga Malaysia” (Malaysian Family) brand had been negatively affected.
Nonetheless, he did not see Ismail getting upstaged by the likes of Najib.
“Ismail has always had this Malay-centric image. The more liberal Najib is helping Barisan Nasional build bridges with non-Malays in a way that Ismail cannot,” Fauzi said. FMT
PETALING JAYA: A ceramah in advance of tomorrow’s #TangkapAzamBaki rally was raided by the police this evening, and a few arrests made, according to rally organisers.
The briefing was held at a restaurant here in preparation for the street protest scheduled to take place below the LRT station in Jalan Bangsar.
“The police are asking for our MyKads and taking down our details. So we are all standing around here and are not allowed to leave,” tweeted Muda vice-president Dr Thanussha Francis Xavier.
The police have been contacted for comment. FMT
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