Former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin rang an alarm by predicting BN will only find an easy passage in Johore, Malacca and Pahang in the next general election. As for other States, competition is expected to be very, very stiff.
The Umno veteran - who seldom spoke to the Press when he was a minister - told Nanyang Siang Pau that PM Najib must cut out the deadwood to ensure the ruling party gains more support from the voters.
A year before the 12th general election, the former Umno treasurer issued a warning that BN would lose Penang, Selangor and Kedah. His 'prophecy' came true when BN lost five states on March 8, 2008 and its two-third majority in Parliament.
I would rather say that Daim was a bit pessimistic.
Why? A few hours before his interview with the Chinese paper, I was with two Najib's senior aides, talked general election over a cup of coffee. The two Datuks gave another version of the story, an optimistic one.
"Our PM is convinced that BN will take back Selangor and Kedah from the Opposition. He received encouraging reports from all component parties, including Umno's Mentri Besar and Chief Minister. Everything points to success," according to one of them.
"Bro. Every corner is being covered now. So, there is no need to worry. The Opposition will be wiped out!"
Waaaah! So confident.
But what kind of reports did Najib get from each and every State? That everything is in order, and that Umno is in a perfect condition to stand up for the general election?
Former PM Pak Lah was also very confident in 2008. He didn't listen to Daim and neither did he seek advise from others. The most damaging part was, most of the reports from Umno State liaison officers were far from the actual situation.
I know at least three Cabinet ministers who only want 'good news' from their officers in their respective constituency. Any bad news will be up to the officers to attend.
So, I am not sure if Najib prefers the bad news first or the good news. Or did he deploy some party agents to check on the reports and verify that what stated on the paper really reflected the actual situation in the respective State?
As how Daim put it - Najib is a good general but the soldiers around him are not fighting the war with him... they are fighting for their own survival!