Maybe it is timing and maybe it is not but whatever it is, the PM could have done better besides going ‘missing’.
The prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s popularity ratings has not been doing very well lately. First he went missing during the ‘Nothing2Hide’ forum and then due to prior commitments, he went away in light of the aftermath of the earthquake in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
This gave the opportunity for opposition lawmakers to have a field day against him where Kota Kinabalu MP Jimmy Wong hit out at Najib was not around to offer support to the people of Sabah in the worst-ever earthquake tragedy.
Wong said that Najib ‘did not bother’ to come to Sabah. Giving him the benefit of doubt, Najib left for Saudi Arabia (Jeddah) on a 3-day working visit and this was at the invitation of the King Salman Abdulaziz al-Saud. He left a day after the 5.9 Richter scale earthquake hit Ranau. In Jeddah, he launched the second D’Saji restaurant by FELDA.
Najib has issued a statement saying that he was following the developments in Sabah ‘closely’ and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin is handling the situation including managing of relief operations in the country. To date, 18 people have been confirmed killed in the earthquake.
The problem is that Najib was away last year in the United States during the worst floods in 30 years in the country. He was even pictured playing golf with President Barack Obama.
As the prime minister, there is no doubt about his commitment and concern for the people of Malaysia. The bigger issue is that, the timing of jetting overseas might not be right!
If you have a disaster situation in your own country and cannot travel to a prior appointment, it should be fine. Anyone would understand that. Najib should be aware that being there personally or the people who are in trouble would surely make a BIG difference.