PETALING JAYA: It would have been quite a distinction to have been compared with the president of the United States of America under most US administrations in the past, but nowadays, such a comparison would be cringeworthy for any world leader.
Hence, Time magazine putting up a list of five world leaders and calling them “less popular” than US President Donald Trump would not be a proud moment for any national leader.
Unfortunately for Prime Minister Najib Razak, he has been included into this “exclusive club” by Time, along with Nicolas Maduro (President of Venezuela), Jacob Zuma (President, South Africa), Michel Temer (President, Brazil) and
Alexis Tsipras (Prime Minister, Greece).
The most glaring similarity between Najib and Trump would be on the issue of the popular vote.
Najib’s Barisan Nasional (BN) won a majority of the parliamentary seats in the last general election to hold on to power despite having won only 47% of the total votes cast.
Similarly, Trump won the US presidential election last November based on the electoral college system giving him the edge, with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton garnering 2.9 million more votes than Trump in the final count.
According to Time magazine, Trump’s approval rating currently sits at just under 40%.
Over in Malaysia, the weekly reports that Najib’s approval rating is at record lows.
Still, there is little to worry about for the Umno president with his party and the ruling coalition, BN, very much in control of their future, with a view to extending its 60-year rule in the next general election.
The timing of the article naming Najib as one of five world leaders “less popular” than Trump also seems ironic with both leaders recently pictured together in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for the summit of leaders of Muslim-majority nations with Trump, which ended on Monday.
Of the other four leaders named in the list by the renowned publication, all the countries led by these men are currently facing economic hardships with Venezuela being under the spotlight in recent weeks after suffering a drastic hike in inflation that has resulted in deadly riots across the nation.
Venezuelans have taken to the streets daily to violently protest Nicolas Maduro’s government amid crippling food and medicine shortages.
According to Time, Maduro has the misfortune of presiding over a country whose economy is almost wholly dependent on oil with over 95% of export revenues coming from it.
Hence, the low oil-prices is a problem that has been compounded by severe financial mismanagement over many years.
The other oil-producing nation in the list is Brazil whose leader only took the helm after his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached and subsequently forced out of office.
Brazil’s Michel Temer is now said to have an approval rating in the single digits. Time reports that he could be the second consecutive president to be impeached in the land of the samba and football.
“The slowdown of the global economy and the accompanying crash in commodity prices have hit Brazil hard, leading to the country’s worst recession ever,” Time said of Brazil’s economy, where the GDP has fallen more than 7% in the last two years.
Meanwhile, Jacob Zuma, who took over the presidency of South Africa in 2009, has seen the country’s economy slide, and the currency losing a third of its value.
According to Time, with his popularity numbers being in the 20% range, Zuma is now grooming his ex-wife to be his political successor to protect himself from prosecution once he leaves office.
Finally, Alexis Tsipras of Greece, has been hit by an economic collapse that preceded his reign as prime minister.
However, his popularity has dipped with the Greeks blaming him for some promises made prior to his 2014 election victory, that have not been fulfilled. – FMT