If they continue the fight now, Umno will stand no chance in the next general election.
Reuters reported last night that,
Now, whether the rebels, led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad like it or not, they have to acknowledge the fact that Umno and its Barisan Nasional allies will now face the 14th general election led by Najib.
They have to admit that they have been unsuccessful in executing their most critical mission - to persuade members of the party's supreme council to go along with them.
Last night the supreme council opted to continue being led by Najib,
The way I see it, the primary rebellion objective of forcing Najib to step down before the next general election had failed.
In fact, I think it was doomed from the start.
Firstly, the rebellion started too late.
If it had started right after the relatively dismal BN's performance in the last general election (GE13), then things would be different.
When Najib consolidated his grip on the Umno hierarchy by maintaining the status quo at the party polls several months after GE13, he basically ensured that there will be no changes in the party till the end of the term.
I was frustrated when that happened.
Umno is going into the next electoral battle with the exact same leaders, same strategy and same attitude.
Do you see any changes in Umno since GE13?
Secondly, the lead characters supporting Dr Mahathir never really try to appeal for others who could help win the fight to join the rebellion.
They seemed to "monopolize" the rebellion.
For instance, unlike the rebellion against Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the pro-Umno bloggers were this time clearly divided.
Those who had already positioned themselves in the Dr Mahathir's camp treated the others rather too harshly, causing them to shy away from joining the fight.
I know of some who were unhappy with Najib but decided to stay neutral because of the cold or even hostile way they were being treated by the pro-Mahathir camp.
It's the same flaw with Najib forces manned by mostly mercenaries and people with vested interest.
The difference was that the Najib camp posses a bigger arsenal in the form of the mainstream media and quite well staffed cyber war effort.
They also have the advantage of incumbency.
The Dr Mahathir camp only have a few blogs and some sympathetic elements in the social media.
They may not be outnumbered but totally outgunned.
Now, having said all that, I don't think Najib and his supporters had totally won the fight.
BN and Umno did suffer from the fight over the past two months, and the rebellion will continue to simmer.
It's for Najib now to win back Dr Mahathir and his supporters to face the general election.
He can't afford to throw them away.
The fighting had caused Umno and BN to lose a lot of ground especially among the fence sitters, who are now fed-up with the whole thing.
Najib has to get everyone onboard now, something which he failed to do previously, which was among the main causes of the rebellion.
Some may argue that he doesn't have to do that as the opposition is now split and weak following the Pakatan break-up.
But I think otherwise. I believe the opposition is now stronger than ever.
I will write about that later.