Yesterday, Dr Mahathir announced his resignation from UMNO and urged others who loved the party to do the same. Today, his son and Jerlun MP Mukhriz Mahathir said he is not resigning from Umno, but reiterated his call for Abdullah Badawi to step down as prime minister and party president.
Instead, he is expected to contest the UMNO Youth Chief position when it becomes available after Hishamuddin announced he is moving up.
From his announcement, it is clear that the children are hedging their bet against Dr M's decision to quite the party. Mukhriz's decision will ensure that he stays within a striking distance for leadership in UMNO Youth if Dr M's call for Abdullah to step down suddenly gains momentum. At the moment, a few veterans and some 300 members have announced their resignation. The number is not significant.
From my analysis, I do not expect a mass exodus ( I told the Today newspaper the same in an interview yesterday) and Mukhriz's decision has confirmed my observation.
The decision taken by Dr M is personal. It is clear that his action was not directed at making UMNO more liberal and stronger but to push Abdullah out of his cosy seat at the top. The fact that the latter is able to sit comfortably at the top is also of Mahathir's own doing. He helped to build the power base of the country around the PM office, making a person holding the PM position all powerful and omnipresent.
If Dr Mahathir is serious about his current move then why aren't his family members following him out?