A lot sooner. They told me it was one of the hottest supreme council meetings that Abdullah Ahmad Badawi ever chaired.
All the top Umno leaders who spoke this afternoon, save for one who hailed from the East Coast, spoke up on the need to save the party, i.e. for the president to give way for a change in leadership, i.e. for Pak Lah to step down and leave Najib with the task of repairing the damage suffered by Umno over the last few years before it's too late.
You are not likely to read a blow-by-blow account in any of the government-controlled media.
At the press conference held after the meeting, Abdullah said whatever decision concerning his position as Umno president and the transition of power will be made by him personally, after he's discussed it with Najib. Read here. But Muhyiddin's statement reported by Bernama is a bit more telling. Excerpts:
General September 18, 2008 21:37 PM
Muhyiddin Explains Stand To Umno's Supreme Council
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 (Bernama) -- Umno vice Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has explained his stand on the leadership transition in the party to Umno's Supreme Council (MT), which met here Thursday.
"I took the opportunity to explain remarks I made in Singapore about the plan, which I have consistently maintained since it was first mooted.
"Thankfully, the president (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) accepted it and none of my colleagues criticised me over the remarks although some had stated their reservations about it earlier," he told reporters when approached after the meeting.
Muhyiddin, who is also International Trade and Industry Minister, said his call to the Prime Minister to expedite the leadership transition was made in the interest of the party to ensure it was on a sound footing to face the next general election.
On the leadership transition process between Abdullah and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Muhyiddin said he left it to them to work it out.
"No specific date, we just gave our views and that of the grassroots who want it to be done as soon as possible. We gave space to the president to discuss it with Najib," he said.
Read also Shahanaz's take, here. Excerpts:
Sooner, not later
Speaking to reporters after the Prime Minister’s press conference, Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib said the issue of transition was discussed at length at the council meeting.
They said the council members did not propose a specific date but want it made as soon as possible.
“Many of us in the council voiced the views and feelings of the grassroots that want the transition to be done as quickly as possible, but we will give him room to discuss this with Najib,” said Muhyiddin.
After the stunt it tried to pull last night ["A spin or an outright lie?"], the NST Online has decided to downplay the closed-door proceedings of the Supreme Council meeting:
KUALA LUMPUR, THURS:
THERE is no need for an emergency session of the Parliament next week, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said in response to PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s call today for a special session of the Parliament to hold a no-confidence vote against the prime minister.
“The Parliament will begin their session after Hari Raya,” he said at a press conference after chairing the UMNO Supreme Council. The Parliament is sitting on Oct 13.
He added that any decision he makes on the transition plan would be discussed with his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak and conveyed to the party’s supreme council.
Abdullah, who is also the prime minister, said he need not explain again to the supreme council on the plan.
“I’m aware and keeping my ears to the ground,” he said, referring to the whatever is happening in relations to the plan.
Other blog reports:
Badawi ... asked to leave by Apanama; MT Umno desak PM "flip-flop" Abdullah berundur oleh Big Dog; Pak Lah gets Oct 9 deadline to quit by Ashraf Abdullah
pic courtesy of Agenda Daily