Ahead of the next 14th general elections, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is expected to introduce changes to prevent a further slide in BN’s hold on power.
English-daily The Star quoted sources who revealed that the changes may include replacing the menteris besar in four states – Pahang, Terengganu, Kedah and Negri Sembilan.
“The PM needs new captains to spearhead the machinery in these states,” the sources was quoted as saying.
Speculation on changes in Umno’s state machinery had intensified after Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob’s recent indication that he might not defend his Pelangai state seat, which he has held since 1986.
Adnan made the remarks a few days after he stunned the Pahang state assembly with the ‘pen between his toes’ stunt to dismiss rumours of his supposedly poor health.
In Kedah, however, The Star‘s report indicated that Najib’s plans were linked to concerns surrounding Menteri Besar Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah’s health, after a recent stint in the hospital. He is currently still in recuperation.
Similarly, it was noted that Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar Mohamad Hasan also had a minor health scare when he was taken ill while attending the Rembau Umno division AGM.
The bigger fear for Najib may however lie in a perception that the Umno warlords in the state are still not with Hasan, after three terms of helming the state, the report said.
Over in Terengganu, the expected change was tied to the open rebellion by former menteri besar Ahmad Said against his successor, Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman.
“Terengganu is in danger of falling to PAS and Najib has no choice but to bite the bullet if he wants to hold on to all that oil,” the report said.
‘Bold and ambitious plan’
Describing the plan as being bold and ambitious, the source reportedly said that Najib may be left with no choice because GE14 would be a “do or die” mission for him and BN.
The report also quoted sources who suggested that Najib may proceed to present his plans to Umno delegates at the party’s annual general assembly later than year.
This would allow Najib, as Umno president, to get a concensus for the change, rather than to proceed in a unilateral manner.