His former mentor turned arch-enemy, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed was exalted when Abdullah finally made the announcement to step down.Mahathir thought he has succeeded in destabilising his bete noire and would see UMNO come under a new and stable leadership. He was wrong.
Last week he assured the nation he would step down and hand over the mantle to his solemn-faced deputy, Najib Tun Razak who has, albeit superficially, stood steadfastly behind him and refused to indulge in any conversation regarding succession and his ascent to the premiership.
One have to read Najib's body language to understand how frustrated and annoyed he is with his fickle-minded boss who is becoming even more unpredictable lately. Flip-flopping seems inherent in Abdullah's character.He has made a series of inexplicable blunders which would have caused great embarrassment and concern to most leaders but does not appear to have caused any anxiety to Abdullah.
When rumours were flying around about his intention to marry Jeanne Danker he catergorically denied it. He married her a few weeks later.The biggest shocker was when he assured the nation that he was not ready to dissolve parliament and call for elections and pronto!.......the very next day and in less than 24 hours, he did exactly the opposite, dissolved parliament and called for election. His astounding ability for contradiction and inconsistency is exasperating.
With the latest bout of Abdullah's vacillation, Mahathir may have to re-scramble his demolition team. As Lord Acton famous quote says "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely", and Abdullah finds it hard to let go even after numerous calls from his own party stalwarts and from some of his ministers to step down.
Abdullah had made an about turn and said he would continue until the party general assembly in December and he would also contest the president post and thereafter hand over the helm to Najib.
It would not be too difficult to predict where Abdullah is heading for.If he won the elections in December why should he hands over the helm to Najib.Abdullah is betting on chances that he may be able to garner enough votes to retain the presidency of the party and proved to all and sundry that he still has the support of the majority and, therefore, will not step down as prime minister.
If Abdullah is challenged, likely to be Muhyiddin, than Najib wouldn't be prime minister in waiting anymore, unless Najib openly declared his candidacy before the party elections to keep away other predators from joining the fray.
If Najib or Muhyiddin takes on Abdullah at the party elections than Tengku Razaleigh is likely to stay away from the tussle. If Abdullah changed his mind and refrain from contesting the post, giving way to Najib, there are strong likelihood of others joining the fray.
On the other hand Abdullah may not last until December, a coup in Parliament could remove him from office.
Keeping Abdullah as Prime Minister is good for the oppositions. Anwar Ibrahim had indicated that the oppositions will not pass a vote of no confidence against Abdullah in the August house.
His survival as prime minister depended on the undivided support of the BN lawmakers. The longer Abdullah stays as PM the better it would be for the oppositions and precarious for the BN. More and more disgruntled BN lawmakers who are fed up with Abdullah may want to join the opposition giving Anwar the added strenght of a bigger majority for a new federal government. Anwar knew where Abdullah's weakest link is. At the moment it is with the BN elected members in Parliament.
The support of the ordinary members of UMNO to keep Abdullah as prime minister is not crucial and is irrelevant at the moment.
After the poor showing at the polls, UMNO was in the doldrums, a ship with a captain but no rudder to guide its direction. It has lost the esprit de corps among its members.The elections results sent shock waves throughout the party with most members still in a state of daze and are shocked that the invincibility that they thought they always have had been smashed.The arrogance and complacency of the UMNO leadership had been their own biggest enemy.UMNO leaders think Malaysians owe them a living and would vote for them at every general elections.
"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time" is the famous quote by Abraham Lincoln the 16th President of the United States. After fifty years of political incarceration by UMNO overlords the people had spoken albeit not as strong as it should have.
Abdullah wouldn't have this crisis of confidence if not for the bickerings and back stabbings from UMNO members.The campaign to discredit him by certain members of the party has brought him immensely damaging public contempt.
The thorn in the flesh for Abdullah is Mahathir.His incessant attack on Abdullah has shredded Abdullah's credibility to pieces and created divisions in the party. Some members are still loyal to Mahathir.The party is divided between the devil ( Mahathir) and the deep blue sea(Abdullah). His tenure as PM has become untenable and extremely precarious to BN's survival as a central government. BN is walking the tightrope between life and death. If it does not take remedial action now it may not be the government when Parliament convenes.
The race to Parliament has just begun. It would not be a marathon, it would be a 100 meter dash and the fastest runner will take the government.
It would be a race between Anwar and Najib.
If Najib can't convince Abdullah to step down or make a move against him, the probability of Anwar taking over the federal government could become a reality.
Anwar is holding out the carrot to entice Sabahan MPs, especially those from the KDM group who are famous for selling out their souls to the devil, to cross over to Pakatan Rakyat with a promise to give Sabah 20% royalty on oil, gas and timber. Timber ? Timber has always been state resources and Sabah collects 100% royalty from timber.As an ex-finance minister Anwar should have known this and should check his facts before making promises that look stupid and unreal.
Giving 20% on gross revenue ? I wouldn't bet my bottom dollar on it becoming a reality.Giving 20% on gross before deducting production costs and profit sharing with foreign oil companies would be an economic nightmare for Petronas. Most Sabah politicians are just too dumb-headed and would believe the earth is flat.
Living by tradition is no more an option for UMNO.
It is now survival of the fittest.
'Braveheart': Is based on a 1995 Academy Award film directed and acted by Mel Gibson that portrays the legendary Scot, William Wallace who led a revolt against the oppressive rule of Edward I of England.