It was just a tremor when Ku Li throws the gauntlet that he would challenge Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the UMNO Presidency. There were disquiet among Abdullah's aides and his faithfuls in UMNO of this open challenge to his leadership. The earthquake will come later.
Tengku Razaleigh or popularly know as Ku Li said the results of the just concluded elections are the worst ever for UMNO.The party is on the brink of losing its undivided and unequivocal supports of the Malays that it has enjoyed for half a century. A sizable portion of the Malay community have thrown their supports behind PAS and PKR. In the urban belt the Malay bourgeois have voted DAP where PKR and PAS didn't contest due to the pact they have.
The politically incarcerated Ku Li has also questioned the hijacking of the NEP by elitist groups in UMNO. The monopolistic control of the gravy train has resulted in inequitable distributions of the nation's wealth.Not only are there poor Indians in the country, there are probably more poor Malays as they formed the majority of the races in the country. The gravy train not only rewards the macais and those in power but has also astonishingly produced some extremely successful children of almost all the prime ministers with big businesses under their control. A Malay friend once lamented " Do you honestly think every prime minister of this country has a son who has great business acumen and a hotshot entrepreneur".
Embattled Prime Minister Abdullah besets with endless problems has denied that he has lost support of the people, instead said he has the support of the majority and that he is still in charge, trying to dispel rumours that his Oxford trained son-in-law has undue influence over many of his decisions. Many Malaysians have the impression that Abdullah has another cabinet, a kitchen cabinet at home where major political decisions are made. It could well be perceptions only but it has done a lot of damage to his credibility.
Razaleigh who challenged Mahathir for the UMNO presidency in 1987 but lost by the skin of his teeth attributed it to Najib's division last minute shift to Mahathir's camp. He left UMNO and started a breakaway party called Semangat 46 which didn't do well.He rejoined UMNO and was in the doldrums for yonks until Abdullah's stumbles at the recent elections.He ran the gauntlet on Abdullah and roared in disgust from his lair at Gua Musang.
Ku Li had made two attempts at the presidency but failed.First, against Mahathir in 1987 which almost got him the coveted title and the second in 2004 against Abdullah but failed to get sufficient nominations to stand as candidate.
The substantial rejections at the polls will need delicate and pragmatic approaches in order to pacify angry voters and rekindle their interests to return to the fold. The present leadership don't have the credibility to convince the people that they will change for the better.Ku Li is probably the only suitable candidate at the moment to heal the wounded pride and to try recover lost ground.
With the sword of Damocles hanging over Abdullah's head, it wouldn't be long before an earthquake will occur that will snap the string that hold the sword. Razaleigh call for an EGM will not succeed.His only chance to challenge Abdullah is at the forthcoming assembly.
It will be another five months before the UMNO Assembly, will Razaleigh find enough nominations to get him to challenge Abdullah ? He will and have the best fighting chance to win if Najib don't upset the applecart. Najib should stay as deputy and let Razaleigh lead the party for at least one term to regain the lost confidence and reassemble its lost supports.
There is little altruism in UMNO nowadays, that's why it suffered a massive dose of rejections. The Malay voters have found alternatives in the form of PKR and PAS.The rule of the games has changed and Malays are now more politically matured and gone are the days when ketuananMelayu was the rallying call to the Malays to close ranks and make sure UMNO stays in power.