The latest controversy in the country is the statement made by Ahmad Ismail, UMNO division head of Bukit Bendera Penang during the Permatang Pauh by-election. He said the Chinese are squatters of this country. It was said in front of Najib, the Deputy PM. It received strong reaction from Chinese community and political parties. All demanded an apology from him and action be taken against him. Five Police reports has been made against him for making this racist statement.
The incident has exposed Abdullah all signs of a lame duck Prime Minister, Head of UMNO and the Barisan National. It is a house divided.
Ahmad Ismail has refused to apologise so far. MCA and Geraka have both threatened to review the option of withdrawing from Barisan. DPM Najib has apologized openly on behalf of Ahmad. Abdullah seemed to agree and said apologizing was the right thing to do.
Last Saturday, after meeting with Ahmad and Penang UMNO division heads, Abdullah's position changed. Instead of offering a solution, he instructed all parties to "cool it". He defended Ahmad by saying his statement has been misunderstood. Ahmad was not a racist but just stressing a historical fact. He blamed on the press for playing up the issue. He said this was an abuse of freedom of speech （ by the media, all the people involved except Ahmad)
Apparently, he was being pulled by the nose. He was under pressure to back Ahmad because he needed the support of Penang UMNO, his homebase !
At the end of it, he decided to save his own skin at the expense of MCA, Gerakan, Chinese and other non-Malays. It was a slap on Najib's face too.
It is time for Najib to reconsider his position. June 2010 may not be a sure date for his succession to the Chair of PM. The Chair may have been sold then.