According to Muhyiddin Yassin's camp, campaigning in December will give BN a strategic advantage, given that the middle-class and Christians will be distracted.
Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin’s boys want the general election this year. They are pushing Muhyiddin to pressure Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to dissolve Parliament by Nov 30.
Muhyiddin’s supporters feel Nov 30 should be the latest date, or else Umno and Barisan Nasional will be in trouble.
According to them, campaigning in December will give BN a strategic advantage.
The strategic advantage they are talking about is in East Malaysia. A December poll, they believe, will give the Christians (read opposition) less time to campaign, they will be busy with Christmas and have little time to dwell on politics.
And this will be good for the BN as far as Sarawak is concerned as the natives will be also too busy with the festivities to seek out the alternative media. They will thus depend on the propaganda dished out by the government-controlled mass media especially the radio and TV.
In West Malaysia, the middle class, which is seen to be anti-establishment, will be busy taking holidays. Many of them may not be around even to vote if the election is called in December.
And this is what BN needs to win back states like Selangor and Penang.
The Christians in West Malaysia, too, will have little time having to prepare for Christmas, schooling for the children and holidays and may not be around in their respective constituencies.
Muhyddin may get the boot
Najib, on the other hand, does not think so. He believes he is gaining ground with the Christians and needs their support.
Najib reckons MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek’s peddling of the hudud around every nook and corner will compel Christians to opt for the BN even though many in their ranks deplore the BN.
Now within Umno there are two groups with different views.
Muhyiddin’s supporters are convinced that Najib is just wasting time as he knows this is his last term.
Muhyiddin himself is growing increasingly frustrated. He is confident of an even worse showing for Umno-BN than in 2008.
He is sure to make moves to push Najib out sooner than later.
Najib, meanwhile, is fully aware of his plight but does not see himself being ousted the way former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi went.
Najib is as such preparing to remove Muhyiddin from the deputy’s position and has in mind Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to replace him.
Najib believes Zahid has done a good job in handling the Suaram onslaught against him and he wants to reward Zahid.
And Najib has precedence to support him.
Zahid’s as ambitious as Mukhriz
He is doing what former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad did to his deputy Anwar Ibrahim.
This move, if carried out, will sideline waiting Mukhriz Mahathir who has thrown his lot behind Muhyiddin.
Zahid is no novice and will not settle to being a “stop gap” deputy. He will be gunning for leadership and is more apt to win than Mukhriz.
Muhyiddin is hoping to do to Najib what the latter’s father did to Tunku Abdul Rahman.
While Najib does not command the grassroots the same way his father did, Muhyiddin does.
And to Muhyiddin’s advantage he has also the support of others who have clout over their respective grassroots.
How that battle plays out is left to be seen as all ministerial appointments will be the prerogative of the prime minister, and Najib may use that to his advantage.
In the meantime, both Najib and Muhydiin are playing out the best wayang kulit in town.
Toffee Rodrigo is a businessman who spends his free time writing to create awareness. He blogs at Toffee’sTurn.