When UMNO deputy president Mohd Najib Tun Razak cancelled his official trip to New York, rumours and speculation spread like wildfire.

“Politicians strive on speculations, they want to know whom to support and who to abandon, . . . as the saying goes there are no permanent friends or enemies . . . only permanent objectives,” said a self-proclaimed political observer.

He said politicians wanted to be well-informed ahead of others to ensure that they are able to make the right decisions.

Once it was official that Najib had cancelled his trips, somebody in the grapevine had even set the date for the transition of power.

“There were talks that Abdullah (Ahmad Badawi) will not seek re-election and will announce this on Oct 9,” added the observer.

A minister’s aide even said that there were talks that Abdullah had decided to pass the baton earlier during the recent UMNO supreme council meeting.

“But, Najib in his diplomatic way, had asked the Prime Minister to continue and make the announcement after the division meetings, which are scheduled to start on Oct 9,” he added.

Earlier there were talks that Abdullah will defend his post but as of last night (Wednesday), the talk around town was that he had relented to the calls made by several UMNO supreme council members that he should execute his transition plan much earlier than the decided deadline in June 2010.

“Speculations will continue to rise. It is normal in politics for people to make assumptions,” said the aide.

It was reported that in the last supreme council meeting, several senior UMNO leaders had urged the number one to step down from his post sooner than planned.

A former senior journalist said the decision by Kelantan, Penang and Selangor UMNO liaison committees, for Abdullah to continue with his leadership had triggered more speculations.

“To most members, the decision does not reflect the feelings on the ground as it takes away the constitutional rights of the members at the division levels.

“Under the constitution nominations can only be made by division meetings and not by liaison committees. The liaison committees are only there for administration purposes,” he added.

Whatever that had been said and done, there is no denial that the news about Najib canceling his trip had out ranked other news, including the reduction of the price of petrol, the postponement of Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial and Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s two-year detention under ISA.

So much for a filler, that had riffed up much speculations, which can change or determine the future of the country.