What happens if Najib resigns? Experts discuss 5 topics with us

We’re just being honest here, the calls for Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s resignation have been escalating.

People like former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Lim Kit Siang and Dato’ Zaid Ibrahim have openly called for the Prime Minister to step down (in their own way). Opposition parties have instead called on him to step down as Finance Minister. From within the government itself, people like Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Dato’ Muhiyiddin Yassin have openly questioned Najib’s pet project, 1MDB.


You’ve already clicked on this article, so you know where we’re going with this. But let us say that we just want to address the glaring question that does not seem to be very glaring because not many people are talking about it. And that question is… What would Najib’s resignation lead to? What would happen to 1MDB, or the Altantuya murder trial, or even BR1M?!

We asked some experts about it

Well what we did was we spoke to some experts on the matter. So without further ado, let us introduce ugaiz to the 3 people that we talked to! The first person on our roster is MP for Serdang, Mr. Ong Kian Ming. Up next is Mr. Ooi Heng, the director of Kajian Politik Untuk Perubahan (KPRU). And to round up our roster we have Ms. Ivy Josiah, a women’s rights and social activist.

Bear in mind that these are just opinions of what would happen IF our Prime Minister did step down. Also just a heads up that due to time constraints, Ms. Ivy Josiah chose to focus on certain topics more than others. So yea, here we go!

1. What would happen to 1MDB?

The general consensus as to why Dato’ Seri Najib Razak should resign as Prime Minister is because of his role in 1MDB (for those of you who are new to this, we talk about it extensively here). Many people have spoken up against it but recently a particular Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad started to come down hard on the issue.

A woman walks past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard in Kuala Lumpur January 27, 2014.  A power plant tender that sovereign wealth fund 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) is keen to win before a $2 billion IPO of its power assets has been delayed after bids came in too close to call, government sources said. Picture taken January 27, 2014. REUTERS/Samsul Said (MALAYSIA - Tags: BUSINESS ENERGY)

Don’t worry aunty. If we were you, we’d hide under that umbrella too. Photo from sg.news.yahoo.com

He has since gone on to say that he wants answers on the missing money and that Najib cannot be forgiven if he did in fact lose all that money. But what would happen to 1MDB if Najib resigns?

1MDB will wind down. All assets sold to settle debts and gone into history. – Ooi Heng

It seems quite clear that 1MDB is trying to divest/sell off its assets and wind down its operations. The 1MDB name is too tainted domestically and internationally for it to go on operating. – Ong Kian Ming

But that just sounds so unsatisfactory doesn’t it? Assuming all these allegations on 1MDB are true, it would be a huge scandal disappearing from the public eye! Surely the public won’t just let that happen right? Sadly, it already has, with other scandals before this.

I don’t expect anyone to be formally held responsible given the precedent set in Malaysia. No one was held responsible for the PKFZ scandal and many other scandals in the past. I don’t see why 1MDB should be any different. – Ong Kian Ming


But regardless of what happens, we can always hope that it doesn’t turn out that way.

He must take responsibility for what appears to be financial mismanagement of 1MDB with a massive debt of RM42 billion. – Ivy Josiah

And we believe that, but we guess that only time will tell of the fate of 1MDB.

2. What would happen to the Altantuya murder trial?

Besides 1MDB, another issue that has plagued Najib’s tenure is his alleged involvement in the Altantuya murder. The Malaysian Insider reports that Dr. Mahathir blogged about how the Altantuya case is among the queries that has not been adequately addressed by Najib (btw, for those of you who don’t know about the Altantuya case, we talked about it here).

Even though the case has been closed with the killers convicted of the crimeMalaysians still don’t know why Altantuya was murdered. In regards to this, Ivy Josiah believes that the case needs to be reopened.

It must be reopened, as an advocate against violence against women for over 30 years it is only just that we get to the truth as to why Altantuya was murdered. – Ivy Josiah


Photo credit to maidoali.wordpress.com

But would that change if Najib were to resign? Ong Kian Ming didn’t think so.

There is no reason for the AG to re-open this trial, politically speaking. Unless Sirul spills the beans in Australia and fingers someone in Najib’s inner circle, I don’t see the re-opening of the case as something likely. – Ong Kian Ming

Ooi Heng also believed that the case wouldn’t be reopened. So once again, we can only hope that something be done.

3. What would happen to BN and Pakatan?

a) BN

Aside from being the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib is the Chairman of Barisan Nasional and President of UMNO, a founding party of BN. We couldn’t find if the Chairman of BN and the President of UMNO had to be the Prime Minister but what we do know is that post-independence, this has been the case (please do correct us if we’re wrong on this).


Image credit to Barisan nasional’s official website.

As this is something that involves the whole of BN, not just UMNO, we thought that there would be some effect on the other component parties like MCA and MIC. However, Ong Kian Ming had a different opinion.

The battle is within UMNO. The component parties are just bystanders in all this. – Ong Kian Ming

Ooi Heng, on the other hand, said this would happen if Najib were to just step down.

 The continuation of an UMNO PM, backed by Dr. Mahathir. – Ooi Heng

So essentially, all that would happen is that we would have a new Prime Minister and he would have the backing of former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. 


Honestly, he’s the longest serving Prime Minister in Malaysian history. Surely it means something to have his backing.

If this sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because there was a point in time when another Prime Minister lost the faith of Dr. Mahathir. So much so that this prompted him to leave UMNO and only to rejoin once a new one had taken over.

A disclaimer though. These opinions contradict the words of Dr. Mahathir himself who has said he would not endorse the next Prime Minister and that he has lost faith in people. 🙁


b) Pakatan Rakyat

And what about the opposition? Well our experts seemed to agree that the issue of Najib’s resignation is more of an internal matter. But in regards to the post-Najib opposition, this is what Ooi Heng.

The federal opposition will have to deal with a new PM in the next GE. – Ooi Heng

…Meme in 3…2…1….


Before you fire us for giving a ‘sure la, what sumore’ kind of answer, just hear us out. This means that Najib’s resignation would have no effect on the opposition. That a change in Prime Minister would still result in the same battle but with a different opponent. However, Ong Kian Ming did talk about how it would affect the approach of Pakatan (well he is from DAP la).

Whether or not the opposition can take advantage of the current situation depends a lot on PAS and their strategic outlook for the future.

Does PAS want to make hudud the cornerstone of their political strategy or do they want to focus on attacking the current weaknesses of the BN? We’ll have to wait until after their party elections in June.Ong Kian Ming

And this was actually something that was echoed by Ooi Heng. He agreed that the future of PR did boil down to the PAS elections in June.

Anyway, our point is that, regardless of whether Najib steps down or not, the reaction from the opposition is probably not this la.


4. What would happen to the things Najib has implemented?

a) 1Malaysia

If you didn’t know, 1Malaysia isn’t something that’s been around forever. It was actually introduced by Najib in 2010, about 1 and a half years after he became Prime Minister. With the introduction of 1Malaysia came stuff like Klinik 1Malaysia, Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia, and BR1M (all of which you can check out here).

So where would all these go if Najib stepped down?

1Malaysia brand will be replaced slowly or left idle, with new brand names of a new UMNO PM. – Ooi Heng
1Malaysia will be around as long as Najib is the PM. Policies can always be rebranded when there is a new PM. – Ong Kian Ming

Honestly we have to agree with this. Why? Because when was the last time you heard any politician mentioning ‘Wawasan 2020’ (which was introduced and widely talked about during Tun Dr. Mahathir’s tenure)?  When was the last time you heard this song?

We’re not saying that no one talks about it anymore (links like this show that people still do), but it’s so rarely mentioned it’s closer to folklore than a vision anymore.

But honestly, should it all be just erased from memory? Ivy Josiah doesn’t think so.

We are all equal in the eyes of Article 8 of the Federal Constitution. A social inclusion approach (like 1Malaysia) ensures equitable distribution of benefits of economic growth. – Ivy Josiah

And that’s true isn’t it? In principle 1Malaysia was a good thing. If it can be maintained for the good of the people, it should. But on what condition?

As long as we can make real the rhetoric by not politicizing race and religion. – Ivy Josiah

b) GST

We’re sorry to say that our experts do not think that GST will go even if Najib did. However, changes may be made.

It has taken a lot of $$$ and effort on the part of the government to implement the GST. At a time when the govt needs GST revenue given the falling oil prices, there is little chance of the GST being abolished. – Ong Kian Ming

New PM will modify existing GST regime. All state and local govt services exempted or reduced from 6% to 4% or so. – Ooi Heng

Basically, it’s not going anywhere ugaizzzz. Y’all gotta keep singing the song!


5. What would happen to Najib and his family?

Last but not least, we’re all itching to know, how would Najib’s resignation affect him and his family. In the event that Najib resigns, this is what Ooi Heng had to say.

They will live a comfortable life until they die 🙂 – Ooi Heng (yes he included a smiley face in his reply.)

But what if Najib really did do some wrongs during his tenure as Prime Minister? Will he be arrested and brought to court?

None of our past or current PMs have ever been prosecuted by the AG. No AG will dare to go after a current or past PM. – Ong Kian Ming

And that’s that, really.

But what if Najib refuses to resign

This originally wasn’t meant to be in this article but we decided to put it in because we found it interesting. Ooi Heng from KPRU actually provided us answers to 2 scenarios. One scenario was that Najib were to RESIGN on his own, the other was where he chooses to STAY. Because our article was about what would happen if he resigned, we only talked about his answers in regards to that so far.

But what if Najib chooses to stay on as Prime Minister? According to Ooi Heng, these are the events that might possibly occur. He says they are highly unlikely, but yea, still a possibility.


– A vote of no confidence is called in Parliament. Najib loses, parliament is dissolves and snap elections are called for.

– Based on the two by-elections, the snap elections result in a Malay tsunami (Malay vote dominating the results) and there is a federal regime change.

– GST is either amended or scrapped because of how it has impacted the middle and lower income group where the Malays happen to be the majority.

– A realignment of political forces that would include Sabah and Sarawak, and a new Pakatan Rakyat will emerge.

– Najib and his family will leave the country.

Regardless of what happens, it doesn’t stop us trying to make this country a better place.

Looking at the answers we have above, it seems that a change in leadership in this country may not actually have a very huge effect. There will be an effect no doubt, but the magnitude of it may be minor. And instead of speculating even more, we thought that we bring your focus back to the project which is Malaysia.


And this is Malaysia, not BN or Pakatan or whoever. Photo credit to gayatravel.com.my

In our interview with Ivy Josiah, she gave us a list of things she hoped would change within her lifetime. We’re not able to talk about it all but the list included things like the Sedition Act, the minimum wage, gender equality and even the Royal Malaysian Police Force. And these things do set to serve as a reminder that there is still a lot of work to do in this country.

That no matter how great our leader, it means nothing if we as the people under the leader choose to do nothing.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. – Edmund Burke


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