At yesterday's Umno Supreme Council meeting, Umno President Datuk Seri Abdullah was asked by several members to quit before Oct 9 and hand-over the Prime Ministership to his Deputy Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak.
They argued that Pak Lah should quit by Oct 9, when the Umno divisional meetings begin, to spare him the embarassment of not getting enough nominations to defend his Presidency.
Calls for Pak Lah to resign seem to be increasing by the day. On Tuesday, MUBARAK (the Association of former MPs) urged Pak Lah to bring forward the planned 2010 transition of power and hand over the Prime Ministership to Najib soon.
Pak Lah's stewardship of the Government is said to be non-progressive and lacks direction. In fact, over the last five years of his premiership, Malaysia has taken several step backwards. The ringgit continues to depreciate, while the country's borrowings have been increasing.
The burden has been passed on to the people. The rising inflation is a great concern. Several fuel hikes in the past two years, also affected the people's confidence in the Government. Promises of better public transporation system remain promises.
As a result, Barisan Nasional was severely punished in the March 8 general election. BN managed only a simple majority. It lost five states, well effectively six, if you take Federal Territory into consideration.
It now seems that Umno divisional leaders have begun distancing themselves from Pak Lah. At a breaking of fast hosted by Pak Lah for divisional leaders at the PWTC yesterday, only a few tables were occupied. Many more were empty.
Sinister remarks followed the swapping of Ministries between Pak Lah and Najib as announced on Wednesday. Some say, Pak Lah handed over the Finance Minister's post to Najib as a "sweetener" so that the latter will feel indebted and refrain from running for party presidency.
Others say that Pak Lah is handing over the tough job to Najib in the wake of a global financial crisis. Too hot for Pak Lah to handle. Pak Lah needs someone to blame when the going gets tough, so to speak.
My name is Mohd Ashraf Abdullah. I was born and raised in Tampin, Negeri Sembilan. I am a journalist at heart. I served the New Straits Times as a journalist for 17 years, beginning as a cadet reporter in 1988. I was trained to be a political writer. I served the NST in various capacities including as Staff Correspondent of the Kuantan Bureau and London Correspondent. I resigned as News Editor in 2004 to join Golden Hope Plantations Berhad as Deputy General Manager, Group Corporate Affairs. Two years later I was made General Manager, Group Corporate Affairs. When Golden Hope and Kumpulan Guthrie Berhad were merged with Sime Darby Berhad in November 2007, I chose not to accept the offer of employment by the merged entity. I was a scholar of the British Government and possess a Masters Degree in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. I am also a Jefferson's Fellow of the East West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.