WHAT compels Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak to cancel his scheduled trip to the United Nations General Assembly? We are all very curious. Especially after it came after an earlier cancellation of visits to the middle east.
Is it really because of his new job as Finance Minister? And that he has to strategies in managing the country's economy in the light of global economic problems? Could it be the much-talked about Umno transition plan? Or some other pressing issues of national proportion? Or, is it the on-going discussions (read negotiations) concerning the national leadership?
I believe, and many may agree, that it's all of the above!
To forgo his first-ever address to the UNGA, Najib must have some very important reasons for doing so. The cancellation has met with his boss' approval.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi clearly concurred with Najib's decision to skip the UNGA. But can't Abdullah manage the economy while Najib is away? After all, Najib is only deputy prime minister (at least at this point in time), and he won't be the one tasked with making final decisions on matters of national interest, should they arise.
I believe something major and very important is brewing. Word from the grapevine indicated some very serious discussions (again, read negotiations) are taking place between Najib and Abdullah regarding Umno's leadership vis-a-vis the much-argued transition plan.
Umno leaders, especially the senior ones, have been meeting among themselves, and when summoned, with Abdullah, in the last few nights. In fact, state leaders have been breaking fast in KL these last few days as intense discussion goes on behind closed doors regarding the plan.
After yesterday's Cabinet meeting, the UMNO management committee sat down and discussed serious party matters. I understand this wasn't the usual monthly meeting. Najib lead discussions as he's chairman of the committee.
Little is known about the meeting's outcome. But speculation is rife that the transition plan was extensively discussed. My guess is that Najib updated the management committee about his one-to-one discussion with the PM on several occasions, where, correct me if I'm wrong, some form of time frame were being worked out.
The mood among certain sections of the Umno leadership is one of cautious optimism - the handover is likely to take place much earlier than 2010. Those close to Najib said his body language today was one of quiet confidence, prompting me to ask this question - is the handover really imminent?
Grass root leaders close to the party hierarchy believe so. But I'm not too sure about that. Abdullah is not about to just throw in the towel just because his detractors urged him to! He has his share of advisers who are of the opinion that Abdullah should stand and fight.
Believe me, some high-stake mind game and political one-upmanship is going on...
PS - Is there any truth to the speculation that the party's divisional meetings set to start on Oct 9 for one month may be delayed?