Para perwakilan menaruh harapan besar untuk melihat mereka kembali bersatu, malah ada juga yang mahu kedua-duanya berpelukan.
Sebaliknya, mereka berdua bersalaman saja dan Muhyiddin selepas itu terus keluar dewan dan meninggalkan Pusat Dagangan Dunia Putra (PWTC) di Kuala Lumpur.
Najib selepas membacakan ucapan penggulungannya, turun pentas dan menghulurkan tangan untuk bersalaman dengan Muhyiddin dan kemudian pulang ke tempatnya.
"Ya, saya salam tangannya. Kami tidak bercakap apa tapi bersalaman," kata Najib kepada pemberita di luar Dewan Merdeka.
Najib semasa ucapannya berkata beliau seorang berjiwa besar dan membuka hati untuk menyelesaikan kemelut dalam parti dan mahu melihat Umno bersatu semula, langkah yang mendapat pujian ramai perwakilan.
"Kamu perlu tanya beliau sama ada beliau menerima (tawaran). Ini bukan harapan saya, tapi harapan seluruh perwakilan dalam dewan dan merupakan badan tertinggi yang membuat keputusan dalam parti," kata Najib.
Muhyiddin selepas perhimpunan mengharapkan Najib mengotakan janjinya untuk menyelesaikan kemelut kepercayaan dan keyakinan terhadap pentadbirannya.
Kedua-dua pemimpin itu bertegang urat dalam isu membabitkan masalah urus tadbir, antaranya membabitkan isu syarikat pelaburan bermasalah, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) dan wang derma peribadi, RM2.6 bilion. – tmi
Will the fighter in Muhyiddin still remain...
The Malay agenda took a backseat to the heated animosity between the two, which was expected to end in a sacking but instead, concluded in a peace offering.
Whether Najib’s olive branch was sincere or not, the ball is now in Muhyiddin’s court. Rejecting it would make him look like a sore loser.
Already Najib’s lieutenants are painting the Umno number two as an arrogant man after Muhyiddin only stood up a fraction of a second when other Umno leaders were on their feet and waved their hands.
“That’s the problem, he (Muhyiddin) is arrogant, what can you do?” Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor (photo) said after the assembly.
Umno supreme council member Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said that Muhyiddin “also wants to show that he is great.”
“Najib has already done his part so it’s up to him whether he wants to respond,” Tajuddin said.
Muhyiddin himself remains unconvinced after the assembly concluded, saying he still wants to see what steps Najib would take to solve the problems he had raised.
Their fight, it seems, isn’t destined to end here, and will likely drag on for much longer.
However, Muhyiddin appears to be losing ground and may not have enough support to keep on fighting for long.
Even his home state of Johor is abandoning him.
The Johor Umno delegate who debated Najib’s policy speech only mentioned Muhyiddin in his opening salutations before announcing that the state fully supports Najib as their admiral.
Even Johor Umno secretary Jais Sarday, who once backed Muhyiddin after he was axed from the cabinet, now says the party must come first before individuals.
Attacking Najib will not help the No 2 score brownie points with the grassroots, as displayed by Penang delegate Musa Sheikh Fadzir who threatened to “whack” Muhyiddin ten times if he continues to speak out.
Major blow for Dr M
Despite the obstacles, it is unlikely that Muhyiddin will want to concede defeat or cut a deal anytime soon; he has refused to apologise, maintaining that he has done nothing wrong.
However, Najib is not yet out of the woods as there remain factions within Umno that continue to oppose him, beside Muhyiddin’s.
But Muhyiddin’s losing ground will be a significant blow to efforts by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad to oust Najib.
Umno veterans like Mahathir or Sanusi Junid, who have declared open war against Najib, may wield substantial influence but ultimately, they will need people like Muhyiddin and Umno vice-president Shafie Apdal who are still active within the party and not mere retired figureheads.
The veterans themselves had acknowledged yesterday that they were living on "borrowed time".
The fact that Najib succeeded in turning the tide on his opponents is also telling of the state of Umno, where dissent is increasingly not tolerated.
Grassroots leaders who speak up - as the ‘Rebel 9' (photo) did - found themselves no match against the might of the party machinery.
While some may view this as Umno growing increasingly authoritarian, a bigger factor may be that Umno, and by extension the BN, has never been this weak electorally.
Umno's precarious position means that it cannot afford splits like in 1998 and 1987 when it was in an electorally comfortable position.
This was likely on the minds of delegates as the vast majority called on the feuding leaders to close ranks, drowning out the minor rumblings by disgruntled leaders.
Danger of being ousted
Ultimately, for many in Umno, keeping a controversial leader is better than facing the risk of losing power.
Mahathir and Muhyiddin have also warned that if Najib remains, BN will likely lose the general election anyway.
But as seen from the delegates' reaction today, many believe that a split would entail the greater danger of being ousted altogether.
The sad state of Umno in Selangor and Penang, which are struggling to function as an opposition and deprived of patronage, is a bitter reminder.
All eyes will now be on Muhyiddin's camp on how he intends to sustain an increasingly uphill battle amid a party that prefers the 'safe path' to ensure its political survival.
Najib himself has said he is ready for a fight, vowing to “never retreat and never surrender”.
And those who see an opportunity in filling the void should Muhyiddin's camp be purged from the party, are more than willing to assist the Umno president.- mk
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