COME daytime, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi chairs his weekly Cabinet meeting. The Prime Minister will lead or listen to matters raised on issues affecting Government and national concerns.
But at this point in time, Cabinet members will also have serious political issues at the back of their mind. The political survival of some of them are at stake when party elections commence soon.
MCA ministers will face their delegates ahead of their Umno counterparts, whose wheeling and dealing have caused considerable anxiety throughout the country. It won't surprise me if some serious deals are hammered on the sidelines of the Cabinet meeting.
In the past couple of days, Abdullah may have been buoyed by open declarations of support from Umno Kelantan and Penang. From published reports, we read that the states have pledged to nominate Abdullah as party president.
Abdullah is not one easily convinced. He has seen enough examples of promises made and broken at the drop of a hat. Non-delivery of nominations as pledged by the state bosses could mean the end of the road for people like Tan Sri Annuar Musa, Kelantan Umno chief.
I believe some private discussions have intensified in the last couple of days. Didn't someone report about a long meeting Abdullah had with lieutenants and advisers that lasted into the wee hours of the morning on Monday?
Today's Cabinet meeting gives Abdullah the perfect avenue to extract pledges of support or nominations from his colleagues. I'm told Cabinet members from Selangor would lead the charge to ensure Abdullah gets the 30 per cent quota (58 nominations) to defend his post.
Eyes will also be watching how the DPM, Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak, behaves at the Cabinet meeting. Would he be making a statement of support to his boss and stick to the transition plan? Or would he give more signal that he's pushing for change as widely speculated.
If I'm Abdullah, I'll be anxious to get Najib to express support and dismiss any notion of challenging me. Talk on the ground is that Najib will get enough nominations to challenge Abdullah for the top post. Or will Najib declare that he'll be happy to bide his time and defend his number two post instead?
Or will Abdullah demand a deeper explanation from Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for his remarks made in Singapore? Or will the PM chastise the International Trade and Industry Minister?