But there are now only paeans of praise at the wisdom of the UMNO Supreme Council decision, which reflects most eloquently on the character not only of UMNO Supreme Council but of the mainstream mass media in the country.
Be that as it may, the UMNO Supreme Councilís no-contest decision for the partyís two top posts is to protect Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and his "legacy" and will undermine Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawiís political legitimacy.
The UMNO Supreme Councilís "no-contest" decision will make Abdullah a "Habibie" appointee, completely without political legitimacy, and even if he eventually succeeds as Prime Minister, it is dubious he would be able to hold his position.
For Abdullahís own political good, he should ask the UMNO Supreme Council to rescind the "no-contest" decision as far as the post of UMNO Deputy President is concerned - so that he could secure political legitimacy not only as a properly elected UMNO Deputy President but even more important, for his eventual ascension as Prime Minister.
Abdullah should know that to be the first UMNO "no-contest" Deputy President is not the best credential for his claim to be the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia, but will in fact, become his weakest clutch.
He should welcome contest for the post of UMNO Deputy President, whether from Tengku Razaliegh Hamzah or Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. If he cannot win in such a contest, despite backing from Mahathir, then he does not deserve to become the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia.
If he can win the post of UMNO Deputy President despite a no-holds-barred contest, then he would have sealed his political legitimacy and claim to be the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia.
All the sycophantic support for the UMNO Supreme Council "no contest" decision is a mark of the serious degeneration of the democratic spirit in Malaysia and very ominous for the healthy growth and development of democracy in the country in the new millennium.