The much awaited succession plan in UMNO has not materialised. There was no definite date or specific plan for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Pak Lah) to hand over the helm to his deputy Dato Sri Najib Tun Razak.
Abdullah has asked UMNO members to refrain from calling for his resignation and to wait till December when he will either consider stepping down or contest the presidency of the party if challenged.
In spite of numerous calls for him to go, beleaguered Abdullah has stood his ground and refused to accede to the demand. Short of saying when he will resign and that Najib is definitely his successor he gave his deputy no glimmer of hope other than to wait for the day that may never come.
Are there things that Pak Lah is privy to that the Malaysian general public are not aware of ? Are there extenuating circumstances that he should not leave office now and hand over the helm to Najib or was it, he hadn't had enough yet and wanted to continue as prime minister as long as possible and to prove to all and sundry that he can bring back BN and UMNO to its former glory.
Despite the overwhelming calls for Pak Lah to step down Najib has been a good deputy and never took advantage to pressure Pak Lah to step aside.Najib's refusal to fish in troubled water has angered former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohammad who had openly supported him to displace Abdullah.The former prime minister called Najib a coward and said he is no more his preference to replace Abdullah.His reluctance to oust Abdullah could be due to lack of support from his comrades in the party.
Irrespective of his claim that he doesn't know her and not having met her before, his relationship with the accused murderers of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu has brought him public odium and ridicule.The photograph where he purportedly had dinner with the mastermind of the murder Razak Beginda and the murdered girl had not surfaced other than the one doctored by Tian Chua, a member of opposition party PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyaat). If there was such a photograph why hasn't it surface or is it being kept as an ace up somebody's sleeve and to be used at a later date.Even more puzzling he had not taken any civil action against Tian Chua for the doctored photograph and against Anwar for implications made against him during electioneering.
Is there a concerted effort to tarnish his name to pre-empt his succession? The possibility is always there.There are others who are covertly interested in the position but would not make it known until they are sure they have eliminated the competition.
In his article "Let's Send The Altantuya Murderers To Hell" the writer Raja Petra Kamaruddin raised some pertinent questions especially the way the court case is being conducted.The abrupt changes to defence team, prosecutors and judges in the early stage of the case are viewed as interference from the powers that be and deemed to be the progenitors of an eventual miscarriage of justice.Even if it was not true these are the widespread public perceptions. Such perceptions would be difficult to change unless there is palatable change in the on going trail.
In the same article Raja Petra also raised the issue on the erasure of immigration records which the prosecution seems not at all interested to investigate and get to the roots of the mysterious disappearance of the immigration records of the murdered victim.Who gave the order? It can either be directly from a very powerful person or some staff in the Immigration Department with password access to the computer received substantial bribes from someone involved in the murder. These are material evidence that the prosecution should have procured but wouldn't do so for reasons only known to themselves.
Is Raja Petra pushing his luck? In his article he also mentioned an affidavit that implicates Najib's wife Rosmah.Would he be able to prove all the allegations if he were called upon in the court of law?
In the past some of Raja Petra's stories have proven to be not far from some of the truth, if not the whole truth. Would he be on the right track this time or would he be dragged to court or worse still to the interrogation chamber.
His article has brought some very surprising outcome.He has received a response here from the Press Secretary to Deputy Prime Minister Dato Sri Najib Tun Razak and in true combat form and buccaneering spirit he has replied to the letter here.
Come December would Abdullah hand over the baton to Najib or would he let Najib challenge him.Looking at the changing political scenario Abdullah may prevail over Najib if it was a straight fight.
A dark horse may make an appearance come this December and Abdullah and Najib better watch out for the unexpected.