My ears tingle during Aidilfitri chatter. By design or otherwise, the chatter invariably veers towards making guesses whether or not Pak Lah will announce that he's stepping down. And this sparks heated debate on why he would or wouldn't. Most times, innuendos and unsavouriness and gossip dominate discussions.
How we so easily forget that this is the holy month as we fill our chatter with some unsubstantiated allegations! Eesh eesh eesh!
Looks like Pak Lah has until Wednesday to announce his decision whether to defend his Umno presidency or hand it over to his deputy, Najib Abdul Razak (before the Umno divisions begin holding their annual meetings on Thursday).
Well...we can safely speculate that Pak Lah will announce his retirement. And Najib will get the nominations, I'm sure. The mood is palpable already.
Next question: Will anyone challenge Najib for the presidency? Or it's understood that the presidency should remain unchallenged?
By convention, the Umno president automatically becomes the Prime Minister..
We all know that Umno veteran and Gua Musang division chief Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has already openly offered his candidacy. Whether or not he gets enough nominations from the divisions, remains to be seen.
Thus far, there has been no other who has openly offered himself for nomination to contest the party's top post.
What's interesting and seems to have taken a life of its own is the contest for the deputy presidency. Suddenly, it's crowded with favourite Muhyiddin Yassin who is tipped heavily as candidate, surrounded by wannabes.
Well, alright then. Not all can be dismissed as wannabes. There are a couple of REAL contenders there.
The 61 year-old party vice-president has earned the distinction of being the one with balls, spine and gall, for having been the first Umno leader/member to push for an earlier power transition, ahead of the set 2010 pact.
He opened the way for the revised decision -- for Pak Lah to step down next March.
Still, Muhyiddin has not quite made any commitment - openly or on the quiet -- whether or not to go for the number two post.
The Umno deputy president is, by tradition, the choice for the Deputy Prime Minister's post.
Muhyiddin will find no problem in garnering more than enough nominations to get his candidacy. You can count on that.
So obviously, Umno is looking at a Najib-Muhyiddin tag team. For the moment or until such time when all the wannabes decide to bow down and settle for a slot in the vice-presidents' race.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department and supreme council member Zahid Hamidi has offered himself. Some say, he's there to put a spanner in the works.
"Buat kacau...pull the rug from under Najib and Muhyiddin" or something to that effect. Can Zahid do that?
Well, his people say that he's going for broke. And they're right. Because if he loses, he's got to pack up. Then again, miracles happen in Umno.
Malacca Chief Minister and party vice-president Mohd Ali Rustam and Pulai member of Parliament Nur Jazlan Mohamed have also offered themselves for the deputy presidency.
Meanwhile, party information chief and Rural Development Minister Muhammad Muhd Taib has indicated that he is interested too. Weelll....
And then, there are Foreign Minister Rais Yatim and former Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar Isa Samad.
But let's not get deluded. We'll have to see whether or not they'll get the required number of nominations to qualify or, whether it's just hot air for now and in the end, some of them will back off.
Just wait...with bated breath obviously for the show, I mean, the race to really begin.