Friday, September 26, 2008
Game over for Pak Lah
It looks like it's all over for the Prime Minister. The bottom line, following the Umno supreme council meeting today, is that Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would exit from his post much earlier than 2010. It would appear that he would step down by March next year. How it would be done isn't clear but it is only proper that Abdullah be accorded the dignity and respect in carrying out his plan. Don't forget he is still the PM. No dates have been given and no one is talking about taking over positions. A face saving plan is now in progress. There is no question that the sentiments on the group have been strong over the past months. The decision reached at today's meeting has been unusually swift. It started at 10am but before noon, news had leaked out from the meeting on the outcome. Najib Tun Razak is now set to take over the party and government leadership. The next six months would be absolutely crucial for Najib. He has to accord the highest respect for Pak Lah, appease the supporters of the PM who must felt the carpet being pulled underneath and see a smooth leadership transition being carried out. He also do not want to see snipe shots being fired against him by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who has been outflanked in the whole exercise. More importantly, Najib now has to restore public confidence for Umno and Barisan Nasional. Will Malaysians seen a serious, if not radical, renewal in the image and policies of Umno, or will we see more of the same things, which would be disastrous for Umno. Malaysians are demanding changes in government and unless Umno can respond to these calls, even to acknowledge these voices, then Najib would have a tough time ahead. It can be business as usual following the March 8 elections. Umno cannot continue the same way. Najib has the best position to bring changes from now. Politically, it is to his advantage to introduce popular reforms and do away with unpopular legislations. He has to show that BN can do better than Pakatan Rakyat. He has four years to fix things and the clock is ticking away fast.