UMNO LEADERSHIP TRANSITION

Supreme Council meets today on power transfer

KUALA LUMPUR:
The Umno supreme council meets in emergency session today to again thrash out the leadership transition plan, including the possibility of postponing the December party elections.

Supreme council members were notified by party headquarters around noon yesterday as speculation grew that changes could be made to the scheduled transfer of power between Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

There is no fixed agenda but members contacted said the council was expected to discuss the transition and find a resolution to the doubts hanging over the plan.

Najib, the deputy Umno president, yesterday gave a hint of what was to come when he disclosed that the meeting would be held today.

On Tuesday, he had cancelled his attendance at the United Nations General Assembly in New York just hours before he was due to depart.
“Political questions will be answered tomorrow,” he said yesterday without wanting to be drawn further into the nature of the meeting.

In recent days, Umno appeared to be torn between two views of the transition plan first outlined by Abdullah in July.

One view is for the party to stick to the plan while the other sees Abdullah leaving office sooner than the June 2010 deadline initially agreed on.

Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, a council member, said yesterday the meeting would most likely try to find a middle way between the two views.

“I believe the meeting will come to some kind of compromise. I believe, to accommodate both views, we will most likely cancel the coming December party elections.”

Postponement is possible as the party has until next June to conduct the elections.

The party elections were supposed to have been held last year but the supreme council decided to put them off in order to focus on the general election.

Nazri said postponing the December elections would not be a problem as it would allow matters to cool off for a few months before office-bearers were chosen.

He said a postponement was the most realistic option.

However, councillor Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad is not happy with any arrangement that allows elections to be postponed.

He said the decision should be left to the party grassroots.

“We should leave it to them. Moreover, everyone has been preparing for December.”

Wanita chief Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz said the wing had long decided that any transition plan for the president’s post should be left to Abdullah and Najib.

“Wanita Umno will support any decision made by them on the plan.

“All we ask is that the decision take into account the role to be played by Umno, the future of the party and the country, and the image of the leaders.”

Tan Sri Annuar Musa said it was not right to speculate about today’s meeting.

“The supreme council will deliberate. It will be a final solution not just for the transition plan but what is best for our recovery,” Annuar said.

Other members who spoke anonymously said the party also needed to hold the meeting quickly as council members would be busy with Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations next week .

“Umno members will be going to the open house hosted by menteris besar and party leaders. They will want answers.

“This is our last chance to sort this out before the festivities and division meetings begin on Oct 9,” said a supreme councillor.

Another member said the meeting would not just resolve the transition plan but could also determine if the division meetings would be carried forward.

SHAHRUL PESHAWAR – UMNO is getting nearer to the end and definately it is not a happy ending.

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Filed under Anwar Ibrahim, Inilah dunia

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