Is M orchestrating Abdullah’s earlier exit as PM?

At the DAP Bagan 6,000-People Solidarity Dinner in Penang last night, I said I did not know whether Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will continue to be Prime Minister by next March, although Abdullah has said that he wanted to devote his last five months as Malaysia’s fifth Prime Minister to accomplish some of the reforms which he had failed to honour – in particular, the judiciary, anti-corruption and the police.

I told the dinner crowd that a campaign was afoot inside Umno to force Abdullah to leave the Putrajaya corridors of power earlier than the March deadline.

This pressure has now surfaced publicly with UMNO Vice President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin again playing the “stalking horse” in suggesting a scenario which will see another modification of Abdullah’s original but tattered mid-2010 power transition power and his earlier exit as Prime Minister in December this year.

Muhyiddin’s call is deliberately timed so that it could be endorsed by the Umno divisions holding their meetings this weekend as to create a “popular” momentum which could justify a further UMNO Supreme Council modification of the power transition plan.

The question that is uppermost in many minds is whether former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is now back “in the saddle”, although he has quit Umno and has not returned to it for the second time, and orchestrating Abdullah’s earlier exit in December?

Mahathir had denied that he will be the “de facto” PM and the power behind the throne when Datuk Seri Najib Razak becomes the sixth Prime Minister, dismissing as nonsense talk that Najib was his man and that he (Mahathir) could influence Najib.

But who would believe Mahathir? It would be interesting to put this question to a public opinion survey and see the results.

What Malaysians are interested in hearing from Abdullah tomorrow in his last official opening of the MCA General Assembly as Barisan Nasional Chairman is how he proposes to fend off mounting pressures in UMNO for his earlier exit as Prime Minister than next March and how he can definitely ensure that he could salvage and implement his minimal reform programme before he steps down as Prime Minister.

Surely the question as to when the Prime Minister should retire from office should not be the sole prerogative of Umno, with all the other Barisan Nasional component parties completely excluded from the decision-making process – as Abdullah is the Barisan Nasional Prime Minister and not just Umno Prime Minister!

It is most regrettable that no single MCA leader, regardless of whether incumbents or contestants for high MCA office – and this goes for all the other Barisan Nasional component parties whether Gerakan, MIC or SUPP – had dared to say a single word on the issue of the tenure and appointment of a Prime Minister as well as how they could provide support to Abdullah to ensure that his final minimal reform programme could be salvaged and implemented before Najib takes over as the sixth Prime Minister.

  1. #1 by Johorean on Friday, 17 October 2008 - 1:51 pm

    Doesn’t matter who becomes PM…if it is from UMNO you can forget about good governance since self interest is more important than country interest.

  2. #2 by k1980 on Friday, 17 October 2008 - 1:52 pm

    The incident above is comparable to what happened to President Gorbachev in 1991

    The 1991 Soviet coup d’état attempt (August 19-August 21, 1991), also known as the August Putsch or August Coup, was a three-day period during which a group of members of the Soviet Union’s government briefly deposed Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and attempted to take control of the country. The coup leaders were hard-line members of the Communist Party (CPSU) who felt that Gorbachev’s reform program had gone too far and that a new union treaty that he had negotiated dispersed too much of the central government’s power to the republics.

  3. #3 by Loh on Friday, 17 October 2008 - 2:05 pm

    Muhyiddin can at most change the date of UMNO GA, and hence the election of UMNO President. The King cannot sack the prime minister just because he is no longer the President of UMNO. It would be an interesting event when a non-President of UMNO carries on with the position of PM. That would at least set the precedent that UMNO President is not automatically PM of Malaysia.

    TDM wants to get rid of AAB because AAB is his own man. Why does TDM want to get Najib in position when Najib is his own man? Either TDM is not consistent with his assessment or he is not consistent with his words; he does not mean what he says. Maybe TDM has a different definition for Najib as his own man. Other than taking order from TDM on matters concerning the state Najib is free to associate with whoever he wants, socially. That too is with the exception of AAB whom TDM would hate through his behind viewing from AAB’s posterior.

  4. #4 by kftang on Friday, 17 October 2008 - 2:21 pm

    Now that the mentor has manoeuvred successfully the exit door for PM AAB in 5 months’ time, that is not enough to satisfy the wants of many quarters in UMNO. Looks like plans and moves are abound to execute the change-over earlier in double quick fashion. Let’s see what happens next!

  5. #5 by goodtimes on Friday, 17 October 2008 - 2:30 pm

    Outgoing Datuk Liow Tiong Lai of MCA has requested for MCA to be
    given a DPM post as well(Malaysian Insider today).Now ,it will be quite interesting to hear what UMNO has to say about his request.

  6. #6 by dawsheng on Friday, 17 October 2008 - 3:00 pm

    “The King cannot sack the prime minister just because he is no longer the President of UMNO.”

    The King is divine, like god, you can only pray.

  7. #7 by FelixDT on Friday, 17 October 2008 - 3:01 pm

    I don’t believe it when Mahathir said that he didn’t want to be ‘a de facto PM’. He’s been ‘doing’ it forcefully/unofficially since the day Pak Lah became PM. By feeding the media with his CONSTANT remarks and dissatsified feelings over Pak Lah. Which is funny because it he who picked Pak Lah out of all the minister avaible to be his successor..
    I don’t mean to disrespect Mahathir. He’s done a lot for Malaysia. But that old man needs to learn when to stop. And Malaysians need to stop depending on him so much so that they are willing to accept him back to the ‘wagon’.

  8. #8 by aston on Friday, 17 October 2008 - 3:16 pm

    Umno is the most racist party in the world.

  9. #9 by Thinking Two on Friday, 17 October 2008 - 3:17 pm

    Better ask yourself “Who did these to this country?”.

    Who else. Your guess is as good as my guess!!

  10. #10 by Jeffrey on Friday, 17 October 2008 - 3:26 pm

    Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad (TDM) may not be wanted back in UMNO for any direct role by its warlords but TDM’s influence is always pervasive and strong.

    This is due to the fact that he has the uncanny ability to grasp, incarnate and articulate all their feudal insecurities and exploit them at the same time for his objective.

    It is hard to deny that TDM’s influence has a significant part to play in ushering Pak Lah’s exit but whether he is totally behind Najib is moot and uncertain at this juncture.

    Muhyiddin Yassin is lobbying for a yet earlier UMNO presidential election to shorten further current PM’s tenure could be due to TDM’s backing.

    The likelihood is that TDM is counting more on Muhyiddin Yassin’s ascendency to protect the legacy of Mahathirism than Najib because of the latter’s “baggage” of swirling allegations.

    Leaving the allegations aside, Najib, for all his faults, to some businessmen they feel Najib has more tiers of consultants and advisers from whom he could draw advice to respond fast to the challenges of managing Malaysia Incorporated – his brother in CIMB could also give him good advice – than Pak Lah depending on smaller familial coterie.

    For example, our Central Bank’s timely move, in tandem with central banks of Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and several European countries, to guarantee all ringgit and foreign currency deposits with domestic and locally incorporated foreign banking institutions until December 2010 – and also guarantee interbank obligations so as not to exacerbate the break of credit cycle – is right medicine.

    Malaysia has adequate liquidity in the banking system at all times. The main challenge of global financial crisis to us is not so much of an immediate threat of shrinking liquidity but the state of balance sheet/capital of financial institutions.

    When asset quality of loans and collateral values deteriorate, as they invariably would over time, questions will inevitably arise whether financial institutions will be so affected as to be unable to meet their obligations. Confidence is key factor.

    So this kind of guarantee is absolutely necessary to shore up confidence, without which the situation could become very bad.

  11. #11 by wanderer on Friday, 17 October 2008 - 3:53 pm

    The writings are all on the wall. Muhyuddin is a stepping stone for TDM junior. Najib may not be too long at the helm with all his controversies or BN kicked out at the next GE. If junior won the UMNO youth position, half of TDM plan is fullfilled…sadly, he may not live to see his beloved son take the throne!

  12. #12 by Mr Smith on Friday, 17 October 2008 - 3:54 pm

    “…as to when the Prime Minister should retire from office should not be the sole prerogative of Umno” Kit

    But hasn’t UMNO been behaving all along that this country, government and BN belongs to it. The others (MCA, MIC etc) are mere pendatangs, who have no say.

  13. #13 by Ling Mazen on Friday, 17 October 2008 - 4:00 pm

    Mahathirism (promotes racism) is an antonym for Mandelaism (opposes racism)… whereas Umnoism is a synonym for Naziism.

  14. #14 by zak_hammaad on Friday, 17 October 2008 - 4:05 pm

    The only reason Pakatan is concerned about AAB’s early departure is because with his exit, Pakatan’s task of continued momentum and taking over the government becomes very difficult. AAB was good for Pakatan because of his weakness and incompetence. Najib (if he becomes the PM) will be quite the opposite.

  15. #15 by Dr.Ken on Friday, 17 October 2008 - 4:40 pm

    Changing Guard in Malaysia ! Does it really make a big different ? Is the Replacement Guard qualify & fit ? Will malaysia be a better nation w/ the new Guard ? the answer to all the Question is NO. The international communities esp. Mongolian & American will not respect Najis untill he clear his name from Altantuya S. murder case. His action bring shame to our nation.

    Changing Driver without fixing the vehicle is back to square one. we need to amend our constitution, more legislation & implementation,check & balance of power, separation of power ( executive , judiciary & legislation.)change the system of governing.

    Good Luck to Malaysia.

  16. #16 by yhsiew on Friday, 17 October 2008 - 7:30 pm

    The country risks returning to the dark era of Mahathirism if we have a puppet PM! If one Mahathirian could wrought so much damage to the country’s judiciary, police force, press freedom etc, the destructive effect wrought by three Mahathrians is unthinkable!

  17. #17 by disapointed86 on Saturday, 18 October 2008 - 1:10 am

    I PREFER MUHYIDDIN TO BE THE COUNTRY’s 6th Prime Minister rather than NAJIB

  18. #18 by tourman53 on Saturday, 18 October 2008 - 6:24 am

    Everyone in UMNO is blind. Sad to know they can’t even get one with one eye .They are happy to get one who can smells better to lead.

  19. #19 by limkamput on Saturday, 18 October 2008 - 7:45 am

    The MOTHER of ALL problems of this country is making the coming. The problems we face are not AG, ACA or the Judiciary. The problems lie with this particular person who after 22 years of plundering still thinks he has the right to say and do whatever he likes. It is not that he is smart. It is us, the Malaysians, who are stupid, including stupid oppositions who always bark at the wrong tree.

  20. #20 by limkamput on Saturday, 18 October 2008 - 7:56 am

    goodtimes Says: “Outgoing Datuk Liow Tiong Lai of MCA has requested for MCA to be given a DPM post as well(Malaysian Insider today).Now ,it will be quite interesting to hear what UMNO has to say about his request.”

    This is what half baked politicians say. This is what half baked Malaysians who get excited for nothing. UMNO does not have to say anything. UMNO can agree to two DPM posts if that is what Chinese and Indians want – one in charge of protocol (you know, going to the airport to receive and send off foreign dignitaries) and the other one in charge of cleanliness of public toilets.

  21. #21 by chengho on Saturday, 18 October 2008 - 1:39 pm

    at this current state of world financial problem malaysia need the leader in the mould of mahathir and lee kuan yew .

  22. #22 by Loh on Saturday, 18 October 2008 - 3:00 pm

    AAB said a few months ago that he would hand over power in June 2010, and UMNO supreme council supported it. A while later, some among the council members wondered whether AAB could be trusted to keep his words, and others were more interested to ensure that when there is a change to party lineup at the top, they will have a position they dreamt about all this while. Having agreed to the first 2010 transition, they soon said that 2010 is 2 years away, and is far too long.

    AAB sensed that the two years were quite far away, and if he could change his political wealth soon, it was no harm to make some members happy. He then agreed that he might consider leaving a while earlier. The bottom line was he would choose his departure date.

    AAB had accepted responsibility for the 308 election tsunami, and his opponents in the party wanted to insult him with the results of the Permatang Paul election. They accepted the realization that Anwar could not be stopped. But they would gain political advantage in accelerating AAB’s downfall if the government could be ridiculed with a worse result. The Saiful sodomy police report was the surest plan to force Anwar to declare his candidacy for a by-election, and the trump up charge was the insurance against improved performance for BN, since the people would be reminded of what TDM did to Anwar a decade ago. AAB could have stopped police action against Anwar if he was able to stop investigation against Najib when statutory declaration could be ignored. But AAB fell for it.

    The Permatang Paul election might not have resulted in Anwar’s increased majority over his wife if not for the hurtful comments against Chinese made by Ahmad Ismail, in the presence of Najib. UMNO campaign leaders are no fool, and the director of the election in Permatang Paul was Najib. They knew very well that the BN policies could not have voters embraced them with enthusiasm, but they too realized that the 308 election results were made possible by the arrogance and fiery utterances of UMNO extremists. So a repeat performance can take the same formula. The election results was a forgone conclusion, and AAB subordinates succeeded to demonstrate to one another that AAB was not fit to be President because he could not win Permatang Paul.

    Did TDM orchestrate AAB’s early departure? He has been doing just that for the past four years. He mentioned specifically that AAB was not fit because of the 308 election results and confirmed that with the Permatang Paul results. He defended the comments made by Ahmad Ismail, and God knows whether he was the author of the script to bring down AAB through the Permatang Paul by-election.

    Najib, the immediate beneficiary of the AAB transition plan, supported it all along until Muhyiddin, motivated by TDM declared openly that party positions were not private property for private transfer, or something to that effect, and that such transfer should be accepted by the grassroots. Najib said in response or in cue that he too would accept grassroots decision. Najib’s statement was a win-win solution since when AAB is on the losing end, he could only bring forward his departure rather than delay it. That was the agreement made in UMNO style.

    Najib’s statement served to test AAB’s resolve whether he was willing to defend the position as President. If AAB had declared that the quota system of the party election should be removed, which the supreme council would have to accept because that frees up all election possibilities, Najib would have retracted on his dependence on grassroots opinion. But AAB panicked, and agreed to leave in June 2009, 12 months earlier. That would mean that AAB would be returned unopposed in December election. How naive AAB has shown himself to be? If he was allowed to return unopposed, there was no need for him to cut short his term from June 2010 to June 2009. The mid-night agreement only told Najib that AAB did not have the courage to hear the nomination result of the on-going, and yet to be held at that tine, party divisional meetings. So AAB was transformed into a beggar from a donor at the most recent supreme council meeting. AAB wanted to stay on a while longer, with the excuse of finishing his job in five months as lame duck PM when he could not do in five years running on healthy limbs. Najib was in generous moods then and he must have led AAB up the garden path to have the meeting of UMNO GA postponed by three months. Now Najib as DPM is enjoying the position of PM without the accountability, and he can afford to wait a while longer to get the right title, like he father did to Tunku. Muhyiddin is a wee bit impatient in that three months maybe in deference to the wishes of the octogenarian who wishes to die officially a member of UMNO. The three months matters a lot.

    The story is well known but that shows how UMNO leaders treat contract and agreement they enter or agree among themselves. That is the same way UMNO government honoured the social contract made with leaders of the Alliance component parties. AAB had the opportunity to hold the handle of the keris but he has selected to hold the blade instead. For the non-Malays, only the blade was offered.

    MCA can declare what they like. They have now the excellent opportunity to declare themselves independent of BN and the government. If they choose to go along with Najib’s leadership, they will not have as many MPs in the next election. But as a follower in the opposition coalition, the number of its MP does not count either. However, since the membership of MCA held promise for wealth and influence, never mind that it was at the expense of the community they say they represent, the loss of. money opportunity will bleed it to death.

  23. #23 by BoycottLocalPapers on Saturday, 18 October 2008 - 5:11 pm

    UMNO = Untuk Mahathir, Najib & Orang-orangnya.

    I am glad that finally MCA admitted that UMNO ADALAH SEORANG PEMBULI.

    I hope Tengku Razaleigh could challenge Najib and turn the RAHMAN formula into RAHMAT.

  24. #24 by limkamput on Saturday, 18 October 2008 - 10:02 pm

    chengho sounds like that eunuch admiral from China a few centuries ago.

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