At a meeting of former MPs and assemblymen the Prime Minister indicated that he is worried over Pakatan’s growing strength.
This information was said to have been leaked by several of those who attended the two-day meeting at his official residence in Putrajaya .And a news portal carried some details of the meeting today.
Deputy PM Muhyiddin Yassin and several cabinet ministers were also said to have attended the meetings.
Umno sources confirmed with FMT that the meeting did take place and that Najib had asked them to help t to keep BN in power in a sign that the prime minister is worried over Pakatan Rakyat’s growing strength.
Some participants claimed that Najib had admitted that the pressure placed on Umno and BN is really strong and Pakatan Rakyat is extremely serious in its quest to wrest Putrajaya.
The BN chairman will have to lead his coalition into what will likely be its toughest elections yet with no other option than to redeem BN’s record losses in the 2008 general elections where five states fell into the opposition’s hand and its parliamentary supermajority were wiped out.
Failure to deliver means Najib could share the same fate as his predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who was ousted in a coup after his leadership, described as weak, was blamed for BN’s dismal performance.
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim had made strong hints that his Pakatan pact is confident of wresting federal power this time, betting on the cracks in Umno and increased non-Malay support to help it take Putrajaya.
“We the former state assemblymen are treated like nobodies. I went there just to see what kind of lies Najib and Muhyiddin would tell us,” one former lawmaker was quoted as saying in the news portal report.
But an Umno source said this was typical of the party’s “warlord mentality”. “They always want the top leadership to ‘feed’ them in return for their support. That is not how it should work,” the source added.
A split in Umno could be costly for the ruling coalition. While the opposition’s growing influence could not be discounted, Pakatan had also benefited from the fractious infighting in Umno under Najib’s predecessor.
Najib must call an election by April next year and indications are that Najib is waiting to heal the rift within his own party first.