PM to brief BN leaders on transition plan

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he would set a date after Hari Raya Aidilfitri for a meeting with leaders of Barisan Nasional component parties to brief them on the leadership transition plan.

However, he stopped short of saying when the meeting would take place.

He was asked to comment on a news report that some Barisan leaders were unhappy because they were [not] consulted on a change in the transition plan.

“It is something that we have to tell them, about what’s happening in the transition plan,” he told reporters at the his Hari Raya open house at the Putra World Trade Centre on Wednesday.

Abdullah, who is Umno president, said he was aware of the concern of the other component parties when he announced recently that he would pass on the reins to his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak before the June 2010 deadline that had been decided upon earlier.

Abdullah said Umno was willing to meet with the other component parties to get their views on the transition that has been brought forward.

“There is nothing to hide. We will sit down and listen to their views,” he said.

Internal matter
However Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein said the other Barisan parties must realise that at the end of the day, Umno depended on the decision of its own members, delegates and supreme council members.

“Only when you politicise it and sensationalise it that these issues become sensitive,” he claimed.

Umno supreme council member Datuk Shahrir Samad questioned why other Barisan leaders were complaining over not being briefed on the transition plan being brought forward.

He said that there was no need to explain the matter to the other component parties as they had already known that Umno had a transition plan.

“The strange thing is that before this they did not raise the matter. The transition plan is to strengthen Umno for the good of Barisan. The personalities are no strangers to them.

“They should be reasonable and stop pretending they did not know about it and had to be informed,” he said.

Shahrir also pointed out that Umno did not expect its coalition partners to inform it of what was going on within their parties.

Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said he expected Barisan parties to be briefed in due course.

“We are looking at how to manage the situation within Umno,” he said, while acknowledging that the party’s partners had a vested interest in the matter, and that the entire nation too wanted to see what the whole plan was about.

“But we are now in that process and it is too premature to say how exactly the plan would unfold until the matter is made clear and resolved,” he said, in reference to Abdullah’s decision to announce whether he would defend his president’s post only by Oct 9, when Umno divisions start their meetings.

National issue
However, Barisan component parties felt there was a need for a consensus on the Umno power transition as it affected the “whole country.”

Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said that the component parties had no intention of “interfering with Umno’s internal affairs”, but the consensus “should be taken positively.”

“It’s not meant to interfere with the party’s internal affairs but because of the importance of the Umno leadership, being the leader of Barisan and the whole country, it’s important to have a consensus.

“Even (Umno information chief) Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib said that it’s a reasonable idea when things are clearer,” he told reporters at the open house.

MCA Youth Chief Datuk Liow Tiong Lai also agreed that the election for an Umno president was an Umno matter.

“But when it comes to the Barisan and the Prime Minister, the Barisan component parties need to know and it (the transition plan) needs to be discussed,” he said.

Asked when he anticipated these discussions, he said:

“All the time the Barisan spirit is there. It will be fast I think. The Barisan component parties are all close-knit.”

Star full report here.

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Soooo.. tell me, folks. How do we reconcile an internal UMNO matter that overlaps onto national issues when  a ‘do as I say’ attitude adopted by the umnoputras becomes a prickly hindrance to the purported BN platform of consensus among the coalition members.

After all, if the value of majority confidence from the MPs is duly recognised as a prerequisite for the Agong’s decision in selecting a PM candidate, how much weightage is actually ascribed to the BN component parties apart from UMNO’s choice? And the numbers are: UMNO – 79 and BN components – 61 with PR holding 82.

Both HH’s and SS’s retorts are deliberately intended to deflect the ‘honest rebuke’ of coalition partners on AAB’s vacillating intransigence. Hence, the ‘do as I say’ ad hominem knee-jerk responses. And will someone please inform the ladiez-in-pink to get real, for once.

Let me put it another way – Is UMNO’s future path and survival synonymous with the national agenda?

In my opinion, top most in terms of a national agenda particularly after BN’s disastrous outing in GE12 is national reconciliation which UMNO, with its present ‘hand-me-down’ leadership transition plan, is ill equipped to provide because its own democratic reforms are virtually non-existent. Unless pragmatic rationality prevails and there is an open contest during the UMNO GA in March ’09 (similar to the ‘no hold barred’ party elections pursued by Gerakan and MCA).

Then and only then, can there be a concerted and cohesive effort towards handling another equally important national issue – the economic well-being of the nation.

Anything less will result with perpetuating the same status quo which UMNO have enjoyed unhindered for 51 years including riding roughshod on the sanctity of national agreements (such as this one).

Update: 1000HR 3/10/08.

Please also read the Star’s version of ‘such as this one‘.

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