PM Surprise Move, Now over to Najib and Anwar


It appears that Pak Lah will defend his presidency this December.  Judging from today’s MalaysianInsider report here, Pak Lah seems to have risen above the detractors in the Umno Supreme Council meeting last week.  Instead of caving in to Muhyiddin, Rafidah, Hishamuddin and Apdal Shafiee who were reportedly going for the jugular pressing for Pak Lah to handover to Najib, Pak Lah took a deep breath and shocked them by doing just the opposite.

Will Najib want to go against his boss?  Will his backers push for the prize now?  Does Najib want to defy Pak Lah?  Pak Lah today knows who is for him and who is against him.

Certainly, Pak Lah can announce his intention to step aside anytime during the next month of Umno divisional nominations.  He can watch how far his nomination goes and he can see how bold Najib will be to stand up against him.  Pak Lah has moved and he still has many moves he can make to win the day.

As for Najib, his backers are anxious that his break should be now and Pak Lah should just handover.  The push during the Umno Supreme Council meeting didn’t work as planned.  The next move must be carefully charted by Najib.

One of the most important questions to ask is regardless of who is taking the helm at Umno, which will lead him to be the PM of Malaysia in the arrangement of BN, that the leader must lay out exactly what he is going to do for the Malaysians and for Umno.  Somehow, all the jostling for the top seat seems to have forgotten that Malaysia is for Malaysians or do Umno leaders think that?

The pressure added by Pak Lah’s opponents appear to urge him out simply by saying there’s not enough ground support carries little weight.  And news relating to Pak Lah’s supporters awaiting his green light to go on a massive ground campaign with little substantiation of what Pak Lah will be doing seems to show that there is no clear campaign message nor leadership thought for the people to weigh.

What will Najib taking over from Pak Lah bring?  The opponents against Pak Lah have yet to articulate the brilliance of Najib, both for Umno and for the country.

What will Pak Lah staying on in power bring?  Pak Lah and his supporters have also yet to articulate any brilliance.  As he should know now, more empty rhetorics about what he wish to do given his past 4 years of track record will weigh heavily against him now.  News that he wants to improve the judiciary conflicted with the effects of his de-facto Law Minister’s exit (Zaid Ibrahim).  After 4 years, still nothing is seen done.  Today, we hear that the ACA will be truly independent when the Malaysian Commission on Anti-Corruption (MCAC) takes shape next year (read The Sun here).  But what happened to the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)?  Oh well, it’s still work-in-progress or worse still, forgotten!  So what makes anyone believe Pak Lah that MCAC will happen and work like HK’s ICAC?

Interestingly, there seems to be a void of concern for the country’s economic present and future.  There seems to be little done on the rising inflation impact.  There is little vision on how to put the country back on its feet.  All we really see is how leaders are trying hard to establish their power positions in their own parties.

And when the adage rings true “gajah sama gajah bergaduh, pelanduk mati di tengah” (trans. when elephants fight, the mouse deer dies in between), what will become of us all?  The mouse deer here represents Malaysians.  The elephants represent the leaders fighting for power in Umno.  Can we dare imagine the state of affairs when the dust settles over the next period of time, until December’s Umno elections?

Along the way, Pakatan Rakyat is also plotting their steps to ensure constitutional compliance but treading on unchartered waters.  Whichever way they move, if their claims of sufficient MP support in Parliament is true, the ultimate arbiter is still the Agong.  Wait for Oct 13 Parliament to reconvene and table a vote of no confidence or go straight to the Agong to have him settle this once for all.

We can be sure that Pak Lah’s opponents will not give up and will keep up their pressure as they have already shown their cards during the last weekend’s Umno Supreme Council meeting.  When Pak Lah knows who is for him and who is against him, it allows him to plot with full confidence how to move forward and avoid such landmines in the future.  If these detractors say that there is no support for Pak Lah, they should have just shown it rather than talk it out to convince him or worse still, urge him out.  Rhetorics won’t cut it these days.  Talk is cheap!

Everybody is just talking.  Pak Lah talked for 4 years already, still nothing happened.  His opponents talked some more but still nothing concrete to demonstrate support not with Pak Lah.  Anwar talked about September 16 and still trying to make that agenda work.  Things are not so simple after all.

One thing for sure, all parties will not rest until someone makes their talk come true.  Who will that be?

Pak Lah has moved.  He intends to continue his transition plan so that he has the time to leave behind a good legacy.  The Singapore Straits Times (read here) published a very interesting analysis about all the PMs in Malaysia and what they left as their legacy.

Obviously, he does not want to be known only as the fifth Prime Minister, the first one that did not have anything to show for it. The Premier with no legacy.

How then would they remember him? Making a joke that he would be remembered as Father of Kamaluddin and Father (in-law) of KJ, is easy enough.

Kamaluddin is his businessman son, while KJ, Khairy Jamaluddin, is his politically-ambitious son-in-law.

So Abdullah does indeed need the two years to 2010 to stamp his name on policies and issues.

But from what Malaysians have seen in the last five years, few people seriously think that he can do anything at all.

They say: If he could not and did not achieve anything while he was strong, how could he do it now when he is much weakened?

One thing for sure, do not count out any surprises from Pak Lah.  He may be perceived as being under siege but nevertheless he is very capable of defending his turf.  He still wields enormous powers as PM of Malaysia and the Presiden to Umno.  He believes he still maintains huge grassroot support.  He is not showing signs of any worry about Anwar’s challenge although some of the things that happened recently may undermine his credibility.

As for Najib, he may either be pressured to stand against Pak Lah before October 9 or he takes the route of 2010 handover for the sake of peace.  One thing he will have to handle is his supporters impatience and Mahathir’s unceasing instigation.  What will Najib do now?  His turn to move.

Now for Anwar, today is the deadline for an emergency Parliamentary sitting which has been brushed aside by Pak Lah.  His options are few and if he truly has those number of MPs supporting him and the overthrow of the BN Government, he must have those already analyzed and the next moves plotted.  All will end with the Agong.  His turn to move too.  And if he has what it takes, history will be his for sure.

What about Razaleigh?  Perhaps it’s too early to tell.  Word has it that he has large grassroot support too but will he be able to get the sufficient number of Division nomination to challenge Pak Lah is left to be seen next month.  So his fate is in the hands of the Umno grassroots to decide.  This is his last hurrah if it ever happens.

Finally, Mahathir is not someone that anybody can ignore.  Whether inside or outside of Umno, he has his ways with the Umno leaders and grassroots.  Can he shake the faith of the grassroots and leaders in Pak Lah?  He will certainly continue to try.  We have not heard the last from Mahathir and one shouldn’t be surprised that he is actively rewriting the Umno script given rumors about his meeting up some key Umno leaders recently.

Pak Lah has moved.  He will watch.  He has the upper hand.  He will play it all the way.  Don’t underestimate him at all!

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