This seems to be a compromise to the transition plan – or is it the end of the transition plan? – under which Abdullah was supposed to hand over power to Najib in June 2010. But there was uncertainty over whether Abdullah would even get the 58 nominations he needs from the 191 party divisions to defend his presidency in December.
By putting off the general assembly, he gets to test the waters to see if he can secure those nominations; and if he can’t, he gets to stay on a little longer probably until March and hand over to Najib then. Najib too won’t be seen as power-hungry if he bides his time a little longer.
So will we see a Razaleigh vs Najib contest for the presidency? And where does Muhyiddin fit in? How will Najib, as finance minister, handle the economic slowdown in the coming months? Still a few critical questions hanging in the air. Meanwhile, Anwar is out there…
1229: Abdullah will decide his next move – whether to defend the presidency – by 9 October. He insists that he is not under any pressure to decide. But the pressure seems obvious.
1221: The Umno general assembly has been postponed from this December to March 2009 but the divisional elections will go on as scheduled from 9 October. So will Abdullah stand for the presidency or stand aside for Najib?
1147: Most observers expect that this meeting will have profound implications on the leadership transition within Umno. Can Abdullah survive until mid-June or even this December? That hinges on the big question, will the party elections be postponed to June? The meeting is expected to end in time for Friday prayers.
1100: Umno Supreme Council emergency meeting gets underway.
1020: Abdullah Badawi arrives at the Putra World Trade Centre and holds a private meeting with Najib.