Bercakap dalam wawancara dengan Malaysiakini minggu lalu, wartawan veteran itu berkata, Datuk Seri Najib Razak bagaimanapun tidak akan dicabar oleh timbalan presiden, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
"Siapa akan cabar Najib? Bukan Muhyiddin. Pencabarnya akan datang daripada lapisan seperti (Ketua Pemuda Umno) Khairy Jamaluddin dan (MP Jerlun) Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, tapi tak semestinya mereka," katanya.
Tambahnya, Mukhriz bagaimanapun perlu menjadi menteri penuh terlebih dahulu sebelum memulakan cabaran, manakala Khairy pula kini nampaknya sudah "hilang ghairah."
“Dia bukan lagi seorang yang berpengaruh seperti sebelumnya. Sementara itu, jawatan pengerusi PUNB (Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Berhad) akan buatkan dia sibuk," katanya.
Abdullah (foto), yang merupakan penasihat kepada bapa Najib, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein berkata, cabaran itu juga tidak mungkin digerakkan oleh pemimpin tertinggi seperti sepupu Najib sendiri, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
“(Hishammuddin) juga perlu disalahkan jika BN menang dengan majoriti kecil. Presiden, timbalan dan naib presiden akan dipertanggungjawabkan.
Bekas anggota majlis tertinggi Umno itu menjangkakan bahawa BN akan menang dengan majoriti antara 20 hingga 40 kerusi parlimen dalam pilihan raya ke-12.
Abdullah, yang juga merupakan bekas pengarang kanan akhbar The New Straits Times, turut memberikan beberapa petua kepada Najib untuk menghadapi pilihan raya itu.-malaysiakini
Challenge to Najib won't come from Muhyiddin but Khairy or Mukhriz Mahathir...
Failure to secure a bigger winning majority for the BN in the 13th general election than its 2008 result will put Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak at risk in the next Umno elections - but the challenge will not from his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin.
If a challenge is mounted against Najib, it would be from the second echelon leaders, veteran journalist and one time Umno strongman Abdullah Ahmad said in an interview with Malaysiakini last week.
"Who will challenge Najib? Not Muhyiddin. The challengers will be from the ranks of (Umno Youth chief) Khairy Jamaluddin and (Jerlun MP) Muhkriz Mahathir, although not necessarily from them."
All the same, he said, Mukhriz would likely want to be a full minister first, rather than rock the boat, even though Khairy seemed to have "lost steam".
"He is no longer the magnate he once was. Meanwhile, the chairmanship of PUNB should keep him busy."
According to Abdullah, who was once adviser to Najib's father and second PM Abdul Razak Hussein, a challenge is unlikely to come from top leaders like Najib's first cousin and Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein.
"(Hishammuddin) would have to also share the blame if BN wins by a small majority. The president, deputy and vice presidents will be held accountable," he said. 'Concentrate on winning the election'
The former Umno supreme council member, who is also known as ‘Kok Lanas Dollah' added that as it now stands, BN can win with a majority of as low as 20 or as high as 40 seats.
If Najib wins with only a 20-seat majority, he will be at risk of a challenge in the coming Umno elections.
"I were him, I would concentrate on winning the general election first and let the civil servants run the government in this crucial time, of course, with his supervision.
"He is doing fine now... If he knows how to manage things, he can do a lot more after he wins.
Abdullah, who is seen as approving Najib's style of leadership, added that he believes the prime minister can pull off a more significant victory compared with the 2008 election because he is "able and more pragmatic than his predecessor".
Najib took over from Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who resigned as Umno president and the country's fifth prime minister after the BN's poor performance in the March 8, 2008 general election, losing two-thirds majority in Parliament and control of five states.
BN wrested control of Perak in 2009 after defections by Pakatan Rakyat assemblypersons.-malaysiakini