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Khairy Needs To Learn To Compromise in Politics

Khairy Needs To Learn To Compromise in Politics

By Ranjit Singh

Former Health Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin seems to have the penchant for opening his mouth at the wrong time.

Prior to GE 15, Khairy had boldly declared himself as a prime ministerial candidate. The aftermath of this declaration was disastrous for him and he lost in the Sg. Buloh parliament seat. His PR team seems to have given him the wrong advise as the premature and rash announcement caused him to be defeated. He had seriously miscalculated his standing among UMNO members and the voters.

Recently, he had stated that he will support Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s unity government if he was UMNO president.

Another rash statement that was made to invoke support prior to the UMNO General Assemby which was began yesterday. Recollect that Anwar and Khairy have been embroiled in the court as Khairy was sued by Anwar for defamation. 

Khairy seems to have his head in the clouds when assessing his chances of landing the top post in UMNO. He clearly does not command grassroot support in UMNO and the suave and debonair politician might as well kiss his chances goodbye of landing the top post in UMNO.

Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi’s position as the standing UMNO President remains solid as he has the support of 130 UMNO divisions in the country.

Khairy has to accept things as they are and that he can never be successful in his quest of becoming the head honcho in UMNO.

Head In Clouds

In all fairness, Khairy had performed admirably as Health Minister during Muhyiddin and Ismail Sabri’s cabinet, despite being marred by claims in the procurement of vaccines.

He had come out of the shadows of his father in law, former prime minister Tun Abdullah Badawi but he could not connect to the grassroots in UMNO.

Maybe his Oxford background had caused him to be distanced from the grassroots. He had so far held the Sports and Youth and Health in the Cabinet.

He had successfully defended his Rembau seat for 2 terms before being sent to Sg Buloh which marked his political demise in GE 15. He does not have the best of relationships with Zahid and has been often critical of his leadership.

The future of Khairy

In a BFM interview prior to GE 15 , Khairy had no qualms in saying that he wants to be the next PM. He is still young and if his wish comes true, he will be the youngest PM the country ever had.

It seems that his only folly is his epic failure in building support among the grassroots in Umno.

Its difficult to read the mood in UMNO. A leader who is tainted with corruption charges such as Zahid enjoys widespread support whereas a capable minister such as Khairy is not popular.

However Khairy cannot be discounted all together. What might work in his favour is the forging of smart strategic alliances. His warming up to Anwar seems to be a step in this direction.

Working harder with the grassroots may turn his waning political fortunes. He has to reach out to them and make them believe that he is a viable leader.

It is unfortunate for him to have had to swap his Rembau seat for Sg Buloh which cost him dearly. It undid all the good work he had done as Health Minister previously.

Will Khairy be PM someday?

In terms of stature and capabilities, there is no doubt that Khairy is an able PM-candidate.

His only failing seems to be the disconnect with UMNO grassroots. If he can sort that out, he will be on his way.

He also has to exercise his caution when crticising UMNO President, Zahid. His comments could drive a wedge with UMNO grassroots who are staunch supporters of Zahid.

He is only 46 and has a long way to go. If he plays his cards right he could still be on his way of becoming PM. His choice of alliances could very well be the trump card in landing the prized trophy.

UMNO is severly wounded after GE 15 where it managed to win only 26 seats, a far cry from holding power for 60 years. It needs a makeover and people such as Khairy have what it takes to start a re-engineering of the party.