Today the 8th of November, the UMNO Pekan division holds its Mesyuarat Perwakilan Bahagian. It will be officiated by the incoming PM who is also the chairman of this division.
The highlights of the meeting today are as follows:-
- There will be no nomination for the post of deputy president
- There will be no nominations for the post of the 3 vice presidents.
Are these clever strategies or the usual attempt to sweep unpleasant decisions under the carpet?. This is one of the characteristic indecisiveness of DS Najib. He will go to great lengths to please everyone. Or probably he is living out the tenets of a Machiavellian prince.
Yet, his unwillingness to die the cast is symptomatic of a larger UMNO disease. UMNO leaders and members do not have the intellectual courage and discipline of how to quarrel within democratic permissible boundaries.
Just look at the scorched earth tactics used by the combatants in the UMNO youth race. The same intense rivalries will be replayed in the coming battles and the internecine wars for position in the MKT in the next few months.
DS Najib’s unwillingness to state clearly the preference of UMNO delegates can only indicate that UMNO members are consumed only with one thing- jockeying for position to further their own interests. And if those interests are at variance with Najib’s own at the moment, he faces revolt within the ranks. We are assuming of course, that Najib’s interest for the wellbeing of the party, is top ranked in priority. So, Najib is content to let all those goons battle it out and after the battles and wars, sanity will once again prevail. In that obsession, rivalries within the party are taken to the extreme. Those on opposite ends battle mercilessly to vanquish the other.
Why is DS Najib reluctant to reveal his hand? Because he is scared to offend the contestants. Because the decisions taken by Pekan today, if unchecked will be used as endorsements by the UMNO contestants. Najib wants to avoid these signs.
But this nomination abstinence- will it minimise the strife in the family?
The contestants will resort to reading tea leaves and will be looking for tell tale signs, any hints here and there, as to who Dato Najib prefers.
As for us, we can only infer from the numbers.
As of today, the nominations for deputy president are as follows:-
Muhyiddin = 79
Ali Rustam = 32
TS Mohd Taib = 30.
In order to qualify, the contestants need 39 nominations. Thus far, TS Muhyiddin is the only one to do so. The battle between the man with 2 Muhammads in his name and Ali Rustam, will be intense. Who does Najib favour?
Najib has so far, succeeded in signalling that he favours nobody. Here, he employs the classic strategy of Musa Hitam- he favours the person who wins and that can be anybody. Whoever wins later has no way to say, whom Najib favoured before the outcome.
Najib has so far received all the nominations save one which went to the hermit at Langgak Golf. The huge difference between Najib’s nomination and Muhyiddin clearly indicate, there is no collusion between them. And so Najib’s people are spared from having to defend accusations that Najib wants Muhyidin as his number two. So far, the expression of support has been one way- only Muhydin has said that he is comfortable with Najib. Who isn’t? sakmongkol too can say he is comfortable with Najib. Mat Taib and Ali Rustam can also the same thing. Indeed, sakmongkol can testify that Mat Taib has been to Pekan more than the two others. So, Muhyiddin’s statement that he is comfortable, is of minimal value and he had hoped that by making such statement, will invite enthusiastic support from Najib’s camp, he is mistaken. Najib has remained nonchalant.
The other complication is, the fight for the deputy president can also be seen as a proxy fight between Tun Mahathir and Pak Lah. Tun Mahathir must have somewhat been inclined to Muhyiddin for having succeeded in doing many things. Muhyidin has succeeded in bringing Tun Mahathir and Tengku Tazaleigh together and in that process spooked Najib into an out of character assertive mode. Muhyiddin has been instrumental in stirring up agitations for Pak Lah to leave. But best of all, Muhyidin can be seen to deliver a good uppercut on behalf of Mahathir to Pak Lah.
That opprobrium has incurred the outburst from the Al Ghazali seeker. He has come out with guns blazing against Tun Mahathir and publicly rebuked one of his serving ministers. While Muhyidin displays no shame in staying on, that episode has also shown Pak Lah has lost his marbles.
And so he endorses, Ali Rustam, the man who would have been caught out by the selective trap on money politics in the form of the UMNO Board of Discipline. So Ali Rustam stands out as the knight for Pak Lah.
What will Najib do? For the moment nothing. But sakmongkol senses he will do the following, after tomorrow- tomorrow Pak Lah’s division will convene and news have it, that there will be no nominations for the DP and VP posts. After tomorrow, world will spread that Najib wants Muhyiddin to be his number two. For the following reasons:-
Despite the hopes that Najib will be his own man, he will not want to cross swords with the eminence grise of Malaysian politics. By the way, after this, the sage from Bukit Tunku, the political animal regarded as icon by people like Shahrir, will be completely marginalised. He can spend more time in the lobby of
Because of an overriding desire to get the tacit approval of TDM, Najib will let out signals, that Muhyidin is OK. Just as sakmongkol predicted on who would get the endorsement of youth head in Pekan.
Hmm, lets see how the drama unfolds.