SIX days after the 13th general election, the country is still gripped with intense political manouvering, a situation that may not necessary be good and productive.
BN Chairman and UMNO President Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has been sworn in as Prime Minister and has the mandate to form his Cabinet. And this has resulted in lobbying for position as candidates try to get the PM's attention for coveted portfolios like Finance, International Trade, Education and Home Ministry.
But developments in the last 24 hours have triggered fresh speculation on an even more important matter - would Pak Lah stay on as Prime Minister or take heed of the mounting pressure for him to step aside.
New MP for Jerlun, Mukhriz Mahathir, has written to the PM asking him to relinquish his post in the interest of the rakyat. The PM's ways, the young MP said, can no longer be accepted by the rakyat.
Described as a young man with steel balls, Mukhriz is fully aware of the huge risk he's taking. It could be downhill for him after this. Political suicide, others said. But there's enough people who says that he did what he did as this is the 'right thing to do.'
The political grapevine has it that several Umno divisions have also expressed strong views of the PM's ways, and some are urging him to reconsider his position as the country's CEO. In the Umno set up and psyche, you don't take the views of the division chiefs lightly. Rumour also has it that some of them have also put in writing their views on the matter to Pak Lah.
The next few days can be very telling for the country's political landscape. There will be lines drawn, alliances made, promises broken. Umno's history have seen so much of this, and nothing is over until it's over!
The PM's state teams have also not been fully sorted out. There's still some tustle in Perlis and Trengganu. Word is both states are likely to have new MBs, and this will have some downside among the politicians involve. This could trigger new disappointment and result in more infighting.
The ground is very hot. Pak Lah's leadership is under close scrutiny when the BN failed to retain its two-third majority in Parliament, and the unprecedented loss of Penang, Kedah, Perak and Selangor and Federal Territory to the Barisan Rakyat.
Despite its public announcement that Kelantan will dump Pas and go with the BN, the ruling coalition's attempt has been thwarted. Again. The electorate doesn't take too kindly to candidates puffing their expensive cigars, and whose preferred mode of campaign transport is a helicopter.
BN leaders are speculating among themselves that the country may have a new PM soon. But Pak Lah is no greenhorn in political gamesmanship. And he's not without supporters, as seen from the public declaration by the Umno supreme council after its meeting this week.
It has been proven that it's never easy to unseat a sitting PM. If the PM has very strong support from those around him, and if the rakyat is solidly behind him, the PM can sleep easy, assured that he has the solid mandate from everyone.
In Pak Lah's case, results of the 13th general election may have far reaching implications than just the simple issue of losing the two-third majority and four states to the Opposition. Let's wait and see.
The Pas moon continues to shine in the east coast states and made significant inroads in the west coast of the peninsukar. With its partners DAP and PKR, Pas remains a substantial force on the Malaysian political landscape.
These losses have led Umno grassroots and senior leaders to question Pak Lah's leadership. One former Cabinet minister told his sidekicks that his defeat was due to the PM's increased unpopularity, which prompted another Umno leader to conclude that the party has a BIG, BIG problem.
Despite the declaration of support from Supreme Council members to Pak Lah, we all know that such declaration may come to nought should divisional chiefs take matters into their own hands and start passing resolutions calling for Pak Lah's resignation.
The divisional chiefs are ground marshalls whose favours are much sought-after, and no Umno leader can take lightly the views and actions of these chiefs. And if Jerlun MP Dato Mukhriz Mahathir's letter to Pak Lah asking him to step aside is any indicitation, there could be more such letters asking for the same thing.
The way I see it - the PM suddenly finds himself in the centre of the storm which could changed the colour of the national political landscape.