Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi chats with his Deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak before the Barisan National Supreme Council meeting at the Umno headquaters in PWTC - AZHAR MAHFOF/The StarThe Barisan Nasional supreme council meeting is still going on but the SMS that is flying out from the room at the PWTC is that Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has informed the heads of the component parties that he is not defending his Umno president's post. He also told them that he would step down in March. Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak will take over. Until this morning, some Umno leaders were still attempting to persuade him to defend his post. A group also gathered at the PWTC to express support for Pak Lah. At the meeting, Pak Lah said he would also be giving up his position as BN chief by March but he will not slow down his reform efforts in government from now until March. BN component party leaders are expected to tell the media that they respect his decision to step down in March.
With Pak Lah's announcement, the 191 divisions are expected to nominate Najib for president. It isn't clear whether he would have a running mate but Muhyiddin Yassin is regarded as the most serious candidate for the number two slot. The party polls would be crucial for many as it could well determine their positions in government, especially at the Cabinet level. The assumption is that when Najib takes over in March, there would be a Cabinet reshuffle.