Veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin said today the only way Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak can be ousted is through a revolt in Umno that would be similar to the 'storming of the Bastille' during the French Revolution.
"Unless there is a revolt by Umno, akin to the storming of the Bastille by the hungry and angry Frenchmen and women in 1789 that saw King Louis XVI and his inconsiderate wife, Marie Antoinette, being sent to the guillotine, Mohd Najib will stay," Kadir says in his latest blog posting.
The Umno election, which is due in 2016, has been postponed by 18 months, effectively fending off any leadership challenge against Najib until the next general election due in 2018.
Kadir, a close ally of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, added that public sentiments did not matter as only Umno's support is necessary to keep Najib in power.
He added this was because Najib's position was determined solely by around 300 Umno division heads and cabinet ministers.
"Only the Umno supreme council, the state liaison chairpersons and the divisional chiefs can remove him.
"If he loses their support, he loses the privilege to remain prime minister.
"But they are unlikely to revolt because they are beholden to him," said Kadir, who was New Straits Times Press (NSTP) group editor for 12 years under Mahathir's government.
No political power
It is for this reason, Kadir said, no amount of public outcry would force Najib out of office.
Kadir said Najib may be losing the battle of public opinion but that does not mean he will lose his prime minister's seat.
"Those who want the truth about 1MDB, a stronger economy and a respectable country are fighting in the battlefield of public opinion.
"They may be winning, but they do not have the power to remove the prime minister – at least not until the next GE.
"Mohd Najib and his exclusive club of supporters may not be winning the public opinion battle but they have the political power – at least until the next GE," he said.
Najib is plagued by a series of major scandals, the latest of which are allegations that RM2.6 billion from state agency 1MDB had been deposited into his private bank accounts.