He sent me this write-up just now for me to share with readers of this blog:
By Wan Dal Cha
It is obvious that DS Najib has the backing of a big majority of Umno leaders and the wider party membership. He will and rightly so, lead the party into the next general election.
To the surprise of loyalists however the empowered and transformed Umno members want a caveat thrown in. That Umno keeps TS Muhyiddin and DS Shafie.
These are the takeaways from the Perhimpunan. This note shall spell out "Perhimpunan" every time to amplify the distaste for the degrading "PAU".
Some Malaysians describe securing money by deceitful means as PAU, the very indictment used loosely and at times unfairly by Umno critics against the 69-year-old party.
Umno will have to make a major attempt at a clean-up in the next 18 months or so to have any chance of winning the next general election. It is not uncommon for democracies to go into a cleansing exercise. Italy had its "clean hands" programme some 20 years ago.
Umno should focus on wealth creation for the people instead of flaunting wealth. There is no shame in not building palatial homes. In fact robbers will probably leave you alone as one of the masses living in a link home. You sleep well and materialise refreshed in the morning to serve the country.
Many top Umno leaders have been weakened intellectually and morally by the extent of Jentera they keep and inevitably help finance. The Jentera's primary motivation is to keep the Boss in office by displaying enthusiastic support and to check on rivals. Their requests can be mind-numbing. The Boss cannot simply browbeat the Jentera. The more profit-oriented components of the Jentera will endeavour to pau the Boss every now and then.
At times the Boss, drained and constantly looking for imaginative means to oil the Jentera, will begin to think and speak like the Jentera instead of providing leadership.
At some point the more crafty elements of the Jentera will prod their Boss to go for the jugular and maim the rivals wrongly billed as the enemy. Logic tells you that those supposed enemy should be out there campaigning for the party.
Events of the past year have taught us all many lessons. A chief finding is that Umno members are thoughtful and strategic. They are mostly democratic and will not betray a mandate.
DS Najib has the people's mandate and therefore should remain in office. At the same time the Umno masses - a different breed from the Jentera and unquestioning loyalists - will not let anyone unfailingly get his way at times.
The traditional wisdom suggests a party leader should pack the Majlis Tertinggi with his loyalists. This is a wrong prognosis as evidenced by the decision by the Majlis Tertinggi to bar Muhyiddin and Shafie from speaking at the Perhimpunan.
This is undemocratic and more importantly could potentially diminish the stature of a leader. And the dragnet scoops up its share of collateral damage. DS Zahid cannot now address the Perhimpunan. He is a future leader. He is up there high up the queue in the sucession planning. He has just been made the Deputy Prime Minister. DS Hishammuddin Hussein too will not be addressing the Perhimpunan. Of course both are bound to denounce this sort of commentary insisting that they are happy to heed the decision of the Majlis Tertinggi.
A robust Majlis Tertinggi with varied views would have strengthened the leader by offering sound and sensible advice.
Since the mood on the ground is for Umno to end the Perhimpunan on a rousing note, it is never too late to rescind the Majlis Tertinggi decision and let Muhyiddin, Zahid, Shafie and Hishammuddin speak tomorrow. Muhyiddin has heard the sentiments of the ground. Repeating his concerns and worries over the IMDB and donation situation is not going to endear himself with the Umno crowd. Neither will it resolve the twin-issue.
Muhyiddin has however transformed his image by losing his Cabinet seat. He is now a vote winner. That is hardly a surprise. The popularity of Tun Musa Hitam soared when he left the Cabinet. DS Anwar Ibrahim became a potent political force the moment he was sacked.
Muhyiddin should be given a key role in the coming general election. DAP must not be allowed a free ride in Penang.BN should mount a serious challenge. It should start by making sure residents register as voters and turn out in big numbers on polling day.
Also, someone like DS Wahid Omar should be installed as the BN Menteri Besar candidate for Selangor.
Selangor, going by the birthplaces of its population is virtually a Federal Territory. By right someone born elsewhere but has been residing in Selangor should be eligible to be Menteri Besar. Wahid Omar will make a brilliant Menteri Besar in the mould of TS Khalid Ibrahim. DS Noh Omar as the party strongman in parts of Selangor should support such an idea.
Finally, DS Tengku Adnan has not been an outstanding secretary general of Umno, not by describing critics as "pengkhianat". If Umno is taking the path of reconciliation, someone like TS Ghani Othman assisted by a youngish deputy should be made the secretary-general. Another exciting candidate is DS Idris Jusoh or even DS Mustapa Mohamed. Tok Pa is not going to offend anyone. He is a natural peacemaker. TS Rafidah Aziz looks and sounds vibrant still. How about having her lead the Biro Ekonomi?