Saturday, September 13, 2008

Umno's Doom Day

'We can form govt after Sept 16' - Husam Musa

BACHOK (NST): It is all right if Pakatan Rakyat does not meet its goal of seizing power by Sept 16, Pas vice-president Datuk Husam Musa said yesterday.

He said, as with flight departures, delays were normal and, in this case, there was no difference if the new government was formed later.

"There is no problem if it is formed on Sept 17, 18, 19 or 20.

"If one wants to perform the haj, he must reach Mecca before the wukuf in Arafah which is obligatory. Whether he gets there by Malaysia Airlines or other airlines is not important."

Husam, a state executive councillor, said this after presenting RM10,000 to Harsyim Omar, the father of six year-old Muhammad Hanif who is paralysed following an infection to his spinal cord.

He called on Muslims with extra income to donate to those in need.

He thanked the media for highlighting the case of a single woman who was raising a nine-year girl who was blind and suffering from cerebral palsy.

The girl was abandoned by her mother following the death of her father.

Husam said a reader had agreed to give the family RM200 a month.

"This is the spirit of Ramadan that we want. We hope more people will come forward to give to the poor and others in need."

Umno's D-day is Sept 18, not Malaysia Day
14 Sept, 2008


Forget about September 16.' September 18 is shaping up to be a far more important day for Malaysia with far reaching consequences for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi"s two-year transition plan and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin"s political future.

Next Thursday, the Umno Supreme Council will convene and the top of the agenda is likely to be Abdullah"s plan to hand over the reins of power in the party to Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

The council unanimously endorsed the transition plan in July. But following the Barisan Nasional"s defeat in Permatang Pauh on August 26 and his meeting with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in early September, Muhyiddin has called for a review of the plan.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Forbes Conference in Singapore last week, he urged Abdullah to step down earlier, saying that the two year timetable was no longer tenable.

He has followed up that call with cutting comments about Abdullah"s ability to lead Umno and Barisan Nasional. The Minister of International Trade and Industry may have moved too fast.

Comments from several supreme council members and ministers show that not everyone believes that the transition plan should be revisited.

Others like Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, Negeri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Hsssan, Works Minister Datuk Zin Mohamed and defacto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim feel that Muhyiddin should be punished for going public with his comments about the transition plan and his criticism of Abdullah.

A key player at the Sept 18 meeting will be Najib. He is under pressure from his supporters on the ground to push for a quicker handover of power.

Their argument is this: Najib could become collateral damage in the current anti-Abdullah mood.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has also exerted pressure on the DPM, giving him and ultimatum of sorts during a recent meeting: challenge Abdullah or risk having your dirty linen washed in public.

Najib"s comments on Friday where he said that it was up to party members to decide on the transition plan has sparked speculation that he is ready to back Muhyiddin"s idea of reviewing the transition plan.

His opening statement at the September 18 is likely to set the tone of the debate at the council meeting.

If he confirms that he is still committed to taking over the party presidency and the leadership of the country in 2010, this will mark the beginning of the end of Muhyiddin.

It could force the Umno vice-president to resign from the Cabinet and officially declare himself the running mate of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

If Najib supports the call for a review of the transition plan, Abdullah"s political enemies and critics will pound and harass him further.

On the ground, the Umno divisions will take the DPM"s change in stance as a signal that he is willing to accept nominations as the party president.

At the moment, the DPM is still committed to the 2010 hand over, telling his friends that he is still more comfortable with Abdullah than he is with Muhyiddin or Dr Mahathir.

But there are still a few more days to go before the defining meeting for Umno, Abdullah, Najib and Muhyiddin.

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