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Khairy quashes father-in-law’s seat rumour

 | June 15, 2012

The Umno Youth chief dismisses the rumour that he will be contesting in Kepala Batas in the next general election.

PETALING JAYA: Khairy Jamaluddin has dismissed the rumour that he will be contesting in the Kepala Batas parliamentary constituency in Penang, which is currently held by his father-in-law.

The 36-year-old Oxford graduate, who made his electoral debut in 2008, won the Rembau seat in Negeri Sembilan after defeating PKR’s Badrul Hisham Saharin.

But his political ambitions were frustrated by Barisan Nasional’s dismal performance in the polls, which led to his father-in-law Abdullah Ahmad Badawi being forced to resign as prime minister.

Khairy said he too was aware of the rumour concerning his purported move to Kepala Batas in the next general election but added that he paid little heed to it.

According to the Umno Youth chief, Kepala Batas should be represented by a local candidate and the constituents there desired this as well.

“I know that’s what the incumbent MP wants should he decide to stand down in the next general election,” he revealed, referring to Abdullah who was expected not to defend his seat.

“I am not from there nor do I have political roots there. So to me, the rumour is not worth considering seriously,” he added.

Khairy said he had indicated his preference to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak with regard to his future plans.

“I have also informed him that should I be chosen again as a candidate for BN, I will ask to be fielded in Rembau once again,” he added.

Defied the odds

In the aftermath of the 2008 general election, pundits had believed that Khairy’s political fate was sealed.

This was because several quarters, including former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had blamed him and the infamous fourth-floor advisers for BN’s predicament.

However, Khairy managed to step out of his father-in-law’s shadow and overcame the salvos of his critics to carve a name for himself in the Malaysian political arena.

Despite the odds, he also managed to win the Umno Youth chief post after defeating, among others, Mahathir’s son Muhkriz in 2009, a result which the grapevine claimed left the former premier seething.

In what was considered a deliberate snub, Najib did not include him in his Cabinet line-up.

And as if to rub salt into the wound, the premier appointed Mukhriz as a deputy minister.

Let the voters decide

Meanwhile, Khairy offered a diplomatic response when asked if he was confident in retaining the Rembau seat should he be fielded there again.

“That I will leave to the voters. They had a chance to evaluate me for more than four years,” he said.

However, he conceded that with more than 13,000 new voters, the battle ahead would be tough but vowed to give it his best shot.

As speculations regarding candidates gained momentum, Najib however continued to keep silent about the date for the next general election, which would be his first as prime minister.

After deposing Abdullah, the sixth prime minister took office in 2009 with the unenviable task of restoring BN’s two-thirds parliamentary majority and recapturing the states which fell to the opposition.

Introducing a host of transformation programmes and his 1Malaysia clarion call, the premier was initially said to be making significant inroads, fuelling speculations of a snap polls.

But with his popularity dipping in the wake of the Bersih 3.0 rally and the French judicial inquest into the Scorpene deal proving to be a problematic affair, some claim the general election could be pushed to next year, at the end of Najib’s five-year term.


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