Analysis by JOCELINE TAN
Khairy Jamaluddin’s position as Umno Youth chief is not in danger despite Internet chatter that he is about to be dislodged.
REPORTERS covering the Umno Youth exco meeting recently were surprised to see Khairy Jamaluddin wearing a songkok with a white band.
He apparently wanted to show his respect for the late Johor Sultan although he is from Negri Sembilan. It was, as one of his exco members said later, the politically correct thing to do.
Under the spotlight: Khairy (right) speaking at a recent press conference after chairing an exco meeting at the Putra World Trade Centre. Looking on is Umno Youth deputy chief and Muar MP Datuk Razali Ibrahim.
These are challenging times for Khairy and he has been trying to do the right thing as the leader of Umno Youth. But, evidently, some feel he is not doing enough and several Umno-affiliated bloggers have been going about on alleged moves to undermine him and even to force him from his post.
It was largely a cyberspace debate until Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad joined the fray.
The former premier pointed out that it was not the first time that the Youth chief had faced opposition.
Despite all this, Khairy’s position is not in danger at all. There is no way that his exco members will resign to force his hand. The party leadership would not allow that.
Besides, the discussion at the Umno Youth exco meeting was not as reported in cyberspace.
The exco meeting had proceeded smoothly till towards the end, when Hishammuddin Yahaya, who is Putrajaya Youth vice-head, spoke about what he saw as the slow progress in the wing. Hishammuddin, also known as Yeop among his buddies, got rather carried away and said something to the effect that if the Youth leader was not liked, then he should resign, and that the same would apply to the other exco members including himself.
It was all quite spontaneous and civil but it did reflect the frustration in the ranks about the state of affairs in Umno Youth. Khairy’s style has been quite different from his predecessor.
A great deal of politics is about perception and he has been unable to manage the perception to his advantage.
His kinship and political ties with the previous leadership have also turned from a plus to a minus factor now that Umno’s political centre of gravity has shifted to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. In the meantime, the Youth exco members have been tight-lipped about what happened.
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s choice for Youth chief was widely perceived to be Datuk Mukhriz Tun Mahathir but he has since been circumspect in his opinion of the wing. The same cannot be said for Dr Mahathir. There is no love lost between Dr Mahathir and Khairy who are at least two generations apart.
Some think the elder statesman is being rather unfair to the younger man. Khairy is, after all, the choice of the Umno Youth delegates.
But others say that Dr Mahathir is merely looking to the survival of Umno which hinges on how young Malays perceive the party and that is why his campaign against Khairy is unlikely to end soon.//
* This article is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The blog owner does not endorse the view unless specified.