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Mar 15, 2008

No Cabinet post for Khairy


KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 – Khairy Jamaludin’s political ambitions’ could hit rock bottom after the new Malaysian Cabinet is named next week.

The Malaysian Insider has been told that the deputy Umno Youth chief will not be offered any position in government, not even that of a parliamentary secretary.

This will be one of the few times in Malaysian political history that a senior leader of the youth wing has not been rewarded with a position following a general election. It is also the clearest sign that Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is listening to what the ground is saying about his son-in-law.
Khairy has been a polarising factor in Umno since his rise up the political ladder.

His supporters argue that Malaysia needs more young leaders like him, articulate and bright. But in the past 18 months or so, this group of cheerleaders has been outnumbered by the expanding band of critics who say the Oxford-educated Khairy is too arrogant, ambitious and a symbol of the excesses of the New Economic Policy.

Within Umno, the view is as harsh, with some blaming him for the choice of candidates who were rejected by the electorate and others slamming him for allegedly being the power behind the throne.

The backlash has become even more severe since the Opposition made unprecedented gains by claiming 82 parliamentary seats and winning control of five states. The view appears to be that if Khairy is appointed to the government in any capacity, it would be akin to Abdullah rejecting the sentiment on the ground, something he can hardly afford to do at a time when his leadership itself is being called into question.
Umno politicians interviewed by The Malaysian Insider believe that Khairy will find it difficult to continue his climb up the political ladder without a position in government. The ruling party is addicted to power and a politician without power is like a BMW without a fuel tank – nice to look at but of little use.

His best hope lies in performing well as an MP, starring as a backbencher and hoping that even after Abdullah passes the baton of leadership to Datuk Najib Tun Razak, the party views him as an asset.


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