Surely somewhere in Johore in a light industrial zone, a group of people are printing ‘Muhyiddin for PM’ badges.
Najib is adamant of being a ‘yes man’, Kuli is ever-present and Anwar is knocking at the gates.
For the former menteri besar and current minister, as a vice-president past 60 years of age, he must make his run now or remain as a peripheral figure until his political usefulness runs out.
He does not have anything to lose, and everything to gain. And when your competition is Najib, you would have to fancy your chances.
There is the tricky problem of a PM who does not want to resign.
He’s from Johor.
It is Umno country, and in a time where Umno only runs only two of the large states, the Johor base becomes stronger.
And there are no other contenders in the state. Shahrir Samad is cut out to be the great critic not a manipulator and Hishamuddin is just breaking into the big boys table.
He plays the Malay card unashamedly, and this appeals him to Umno members. And to be PM under a BN structure requires you only to win the leadership of UMNO. So multicultural arguments and ideas of fairness are not necessarily huge vote winners in the party.
And Muhyiddin plays to the gallery.
As a Johor Umno man he does have to worry about keeping a multicultural persona as Umno men in Selangor, Perak or Penang for instance. The electorate there do not punish racists.
Two months ago he talked about how Malay NGOs are ganging up to bolster Malay supremacy and he demanded stronger leadership for the party. Last week apparently he asked along with Rais Yatim for the Badawi to tell the UMNO Supreme Council when he would be stepping down.
So the die has been cast.
This is the unwritten part of the script.
The Umno elections are after the Anwar ultimatum of change of government. If PKR and Anwar don’t force the change, and many punters don’t think he will, then the attention will swing to the Umno dynamics.
It is not impossible that Najib might throw his hat in, if in the lead up to September 16 Badawi is politically wounded by the unrest in the country.
And at that point, Badawi might just withdraw.
And a face-off between Muhyiddin and Najib will materialise. And Najib will be carrying the burden of supporting Badawi, while Muhyiddin will be free just to spout the Malay agenda.
And at that point, why not Muhyiddin winning it?
The Anwar play
As you can see, it is not only Badawi who is looking on to Anwar, both Najib and Muhyiddin are too. If the game moves to a non-conclusion once Anwars plays end game, since he has already made his opening gambits and middle play, then everyone is in the mix.
However if Anwar’s play results in a check mate, then we get our first non-Umno Prime Minister.
And Badawi, Najib and Muhyiddin can all settle in retirement.
And those people making the badges now can save it for odd collectors in the future who are looking for campaign badges of the guy who almost made a run for Umno president.