SMS QUESTION in the last couple of days - is Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi serious about bidding for the deputy president post in Umno? Same question was asked of Malacca CM Datuk Ali Rustam. A day later, an SMS asked if I know that Umno Information Chief Tan Sri Muhammad Haji Muhammad Taib was also contemplating a similar challenge?
And of course there's the usual follow-up questions - what about current VP Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, is he not going to announce that he's also keen to bid for the post? Isn't he a favourite and front-runner already, even when nominations are not yet in?
Well, if you ask me - these guys aren't just floating a test balloon! Zahid must feel that since he was once the political secretary of UMNO president in waiting, Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak, he stand a good chance of making it to the main office this time.
One must think big in politics; show one has the balls to go for it; willing to take calculated risks; and stand and be counted. I believe Zahid must have thought about this when he made known his intention to vie for the number two post.
An old hand in Umno politics have a somewhat different view. She's of the opinion that someone is putting Zahid up to it. When I asked who could that person be, she smiled and hinted that it's someone who doesn't want to see Muhyiddin have a walk-in to the deputy president's post!
Should Muhyiddin be worried then? I don't know. He seemed confident, and probably encouraged by recent declarations by a few divisions that they would nominate him for the deputy president post when the time comes.
As for Ali Rustam, the man is a hugely popular leader, especially among grassroots members. Everyone knows that if he's been invited to 10 weddings in a day, he'll make every effort to attend all, even if for a few minutes. What are his chances?
Well, you never know. He's a state wakil rakyat, and not an MP. His rivals may argue that he can't be Deputy PM even if he gets to be Umno deputy president! Woh! If you ask DAR (as Ali Rustam often refers himself when replying to SMS), let's cross the bridge when he comes to it.
I know many people may look at Muhammad with considerable dismay, disgust even. This is because of his Australian history, a rather embarrassing one at that. But be that as it may, Muhammad believes he's a loyal servant of Umno, and therefore harbours hope of going further than an Information chief.
In a few days time, the Umno divisional meetings will take place. Nominations will start, and the ground troops are all set for some serious political maneuverings. Things are going to be hot in the next few weeks.