DATUK Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s presidency of Umno can be aptly described as a wild rollercoaster ride that came to an abrupt halt.
As delegates gather at the PWTC for the party’s general assembly in a fortnight, they will no doubt recall the exhilarating, stomach-churning, gravity-defying adventure of his stewardship.
Winning a general election by a margin that eclipsed the performance of his more illustrious predecessors was no mean feat. Yet the fun ride ended in an instant shunt a year ago.
Pity that all the excitement of zipping up and down through the air in all directions had left party members in a daze. And when the real world came into focus again, the party realised that it had inflicted a serious internal injury on itself.
As Abdullah counts his days as party president, he knows that Umno has lost most of its lustre and vitality. It can no longer behave like a grand old party in whose hands the country used to feel safe and self-assured. He knows, when the day arrives, he would be taking away with him the memory of a party that tottered on the verge of failure while under his care.
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This article first appeared in www.theedgemalaysia.com under the same title on 10 March 2009. Used with permission.