KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak was welcomed like a celebrity when he visited hypermarket Tesco in Semenyih tonight, in yet another signal that his newfound popularity may help Barisan Nasional’s (BN) chances in the upcoming by-election.
Despite facing delayed trials linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), Najib’s fate has turned ever since he adopted a more people-friendly image and he again brought that persona by wearing a black hoodie emblazoned with a viral “Bossku” caricature of him riding a moped.
Mana @azmin_ali kata nak tunggu. Boss kita Ds @Najib_Razak bukan biasa biasa , ajak lepak santai bersama rakyat di Tesco Semenyih, jangan ada yang panas tau.. #Bossku #BossKita #MaluApaBossku #BBB #BukanBiasaBiasa #Istiqamah #PRKSemenyih #LetsTroll #Bangkit #UMNO pic.twitter.com/q6XoOGrPZX— Armand.Azha (@Armand_PJU) February 13, 2019
“I went to Semenyih Tesco just to buy groceries. Why is everyone following me?” the former prime minister posted on his Facebook page.
He shared four photos with the public, most of them Malays, crowding him and jostling to take selfies with him.
In one photo, Najib could be seen on a travelator as a man sought to shake his hand.
In another, a man could be seen wearing a T-shirt carrying the slogan “Malu apa bossku?” (Why the shame, boss?), a phrase that has now not only turned into a rallying cry among the supporters of the Pekan MP, but has entered popular culture.
Since last month, Najib has gone on a charm offensive to transform himself into a people’s champion, and fervent critic and troll of the Pakatan Harapan administration.
In particular, he has used the catchphrase “bossku” and “Malu apa bossku?” in an attempt to endear himself to blue-collar youths, tapping on the “rempit” culture.
Najib’s popularity was seen by political observers as among the factors that contributed to BN winning the Cameron Highlands by-election, a bellwether of Malay and Bumiputera support for the government.
BN is set to announce its candidate for the Semenyih by-election tomorrow evening, around the same time as PH.
Despite that, Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa was quick to downplay Najib’s newfound fame, saying the trend does not automatically translate into popularity at the ballots.
Annuar also insisted that Umno has nothing to do with Najib’s programmes, but conceded that the scandal-plagued politician’s antics on social media has indirectly helped the party.