Umno Poll Postponed Until After General Election. Why?
However, Abdullah, who is also the Prime Minister, did not say when the general election would be held. The last general election was held on March 1, 2004 and the next election must be held not later than five years after that date.
Abdullah said postponing the Umno election until after the general election had been practised since the last two terms. "Such a practice had clearly been beneficial for the party where it could give full concentration on national development and implementing projects in the interest of the rakyat," he said at a press conference after chairing a meeting of the Umno Supreme Council (MT), here Thursday.
**** The PM is right when he says that it is beneficial to the party to postpone the Umno elections. In fact it is beneficial to the nation too. There is always so much of dirty politicking, bribery and the use of every underhanded trick in the run up to the party polls. Treachery, deceit and duplicitousness are the best descriptions for the elections of our nation's premier party. What a disgrace.
What Pak Lah doesn't say however is how much it benefits him personally by delaying the party polls. With a below par performance as Prime Minister and there being no indication of visible improvement in the near future, he has essentially bought some extra time to somehow buttress himself from powerful and ambitious forces in the party while hoping to also bolster his own reputation, standing and grip over the party machinery and cadres.
The fallout from promoting his son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin is another factor which he probably took into consideration. Frankly even as Prime Minister he cannot allow the existence of another centre of influence beyond the reach of party and governmental control and expect not to pay the price for such folly. He is well aware of the deep unpopularity of Khairy and the misgivings of the party faithful to his meteoric rise.
The Mahathir factor is also another reason for this postponement. While the leadership has by hook or crook, successfully prevented him from attending as a delegate at the party general assembly, Pak Lah is probably unsure of how the old warlord would react in the future or how much real power the Tun still wields in Umno. The one thing he doesn't need is a last minute revolt within the party and his unceremonious unseating.
Ultimately whoever controls Umno controls the government and everyone knows it. Therefore to have the party polls before the general elections will unleash the collective greed and ambitions of centres of power within the party who will go for broke knowing that Pak Lah is the weakest president in their history. The only way he can ensure his return to the chair as Umno President would be to get himself reelected as Prime Minister first, establish and secure his position and then use the considerable executive powers of his office to bargain and influence his way to the presidency.