AGM postponed, PM may quit in March - Malaysiakini
Sep 26, 08 12:17pm
The Umno supreme council dealt a blow to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi by putting off party polls and its annual general meeting to March next year in the bid to force the party leader to hand over power to his deputy.
The Umno annual general meeting, along with party elections, was originally scheduled to be held in December.
However divisional elections will proceed as scheduled from Oct 9 to Nov 9.The decisions were made at an hour-long emergency supreme council meeting held this morning at Umno headquarters.Abdullah had earlier said he would hand over power to his deputy, Najib Abdul Razak, in two years' time.
Speaking to reporters later, Abdullah refused to comment if he would defend his president's post at the March party polls, saying that he would decide before the division-level meetings on Oct 9.
"I have not made any decision as far as this particular point is concerned, I intend to do it before the division meetings begin," he said.
"The decision is mine, you can go on guessing. As far as I'm concerned, I love the party."
Abdullah conceded that several members of the supreme council were pushing him to quit and explained that that was the reason why the party polls had been postponed.
"The postponement of the AGM is to facilitate the transition plan," he added, hinting that he may step down at the party meeting in March.
Asked by reporters if he would be going on leave soon, Abdullah said: "I'm not going on leave?... I have lots of work to do."
Half-hour private meeting
Najib was also present at the press conference but did not make any comments throughout 9-minute session.
Before the start of the supreme council meeting this morning, Abdullah and Najib had a private 30-minute meeting.
The original deal was for the power transition to happen in June 2010.
However, Abdullah has come under tremendous pressure in recent weeks to bring forward this date, preferably to the middle of next year.
This was the second time this month that the highest decision-making body of the party had met. It held its monthly meeting last Thursday.
Meanwhile, party information chief Muhd Muhd Taib told reporters that the decision to postpone the party polls was good for all, "for the president and the party".He said that all supreme council members welcomed the decision as it helped ease the tension surrounding the party's transition plan.
Reactions from Muhyiddin, Rafidah, Najib
Trade Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, one of those pushing for a revamped leadership, indicated that the 2010 handover plan was now abandoned.
"As far as I'm concerned it's a new deadline that has been set. I sense he is showing some magnanimity," he told reporters.
Muhyiddin backed the decision to fix a new date for the Umno polls, a move seen by observers as a face-saving way for Abdullah to avoid an embarrassing leadership challenge.
"In a way it is to bring forward the deadline," he said, calling for an end to the rift in the ruling party over the timetable for Abdullah's departure.
"It is time for us to close ranks," he said.
Rafidah Aziz, the party Wanita chief, also suggested the premier would step down earlier than planned.
"We agreed with what was said, it was a comprehensive decision. It is to facilitate an earlier transition, so take it as that," she said
Although Najib is clearly Abdullah's heir apparent, the revised plan allows the new leadership to be formally elected by the party next March. The 2010 handover deal had been criticised as undemocratic by some Umno leaders.
"This is good for the party," Najib said.
"This follows Umno's tradition and at the same time we have taken into account the views of party members, so I think there is a lot of wisdom in today's decision."
The Umno supreme council today decided to postpone its party polls and annual general meeting to March next year to allow for a smooth transfer of power from Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to his deputy, Malaysiakini reports.
The meeting, along with party polls, was scheduled to be held this December.
However divisional elections will proceed as scheduled from Oct 9 to Nov 9.These decisions were made at an hour-long emergency supreme council meeting held this morning at Umno headquarters.
These decisions were made at an hour-long emergency supreme council meeting held this morning at Umno headquarters.
Talking to reporters later, Abdullah refused to comment if he would defend his president's post at the party polls, saying that he would decide before the division-level meetings on Oct 9 - giving him a window of two-weeks to finalise his plans.
"I am not under any pressure. It (the transition) will be my decision," he said.
"The postponement of the AGM is to facilitate the transition plan," he added.
Abdullah's original plan was to handover his power to Najib in June 2010.
However he has come under tremendous pressure in recent weeks to bring forward this date, preferably to mid of next year.
[Full report to follow] - Malaysiakini
Here's a report from the star
Related article by SAKMONGKOL AK47 which supreme council decides? here