SOON after the March 8 general election, the UMNO Supreme Council sent its management committee led by deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abd Razak to meet division chiefs in Penang, Perak and Kedah. There were angry voices heard from those meetings.
Divisional chiefs made known their demands for leadership change within Umno. The demands were echoed elsewhere at various forums as the party leaders sat huddled trying to figure what ought to be done. The three states are among the five plus one that the BN and Umno had lost to the Pakatan Rakyat and emotions were understandly high among party supporters.
To date, there's no more news of such meetings between the management committee and the other states which have gone the Pakatan Rakyat way. Such meetings, which was held to hear grassroot gievances after the March 8 maulings, have been stopped.
In its place, I'm told, is a series of closed-door meetings between party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and chairmen and secretaries of branches. There's been a few already, held either in Sri Perdana or at the Putra World Trade Centre, the party headquarters. Divisional leaders have also been roped in for the meeting, making the encounters interesting indeed.
I'm not too sure if management committee members were present at all the meetings between Pak Lah and the grassroot leaders. I suppose the party president want to have his say too and what better way to do it than to bring these leaders to the city for a private audience. It will also give a chance for the small-time leaders to ask the party president questions directly to him.
As a token of their attendance to these meetings, the grassroot chiefs were each given a prayer mat and were billeted at hotels near the PWTC. Not bad for an overnight meeting with The Boss, I'd say!
I reckon there will be more such meetings in the coming weeks, considering the party have thousands of branches nationwide. The branches will have their general meetings starting July and this will be followed by divisional ones. The party's national assembly will be held in December, which will feature the election of supreme council members.