LETTER | In a campaign stop in Sarawak for the 2010 Sibu by-election, former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak uttered the infamous line “you help me and I help you” – in asking voters to return BN to power.
Coming to the present, Khairy Jamaluddin is now following Najib’s footsteps when he asked voters in Sungai Buloh to vote for him.
Khairy said it was needed so that he can reform Umno and become the prime minister of the country.
A repeat of that infamous quip – “you help me and I help you”.
Based on the public exchange between Khairy and the Umno president, it was clear as daylight that his political party did not allocate any seats for him to contest in the general elections this Saturday.
No one in his party offered to give up their safe seats for him to contest. Khairy had to find a seat to contest himself.
He had to look for seats that no one from his party or the BN coalition would ever contest - unless they want to end their political careers.
So, when Khairy offered to contest in Sungai Buloh, there was zero resistance from his party or the leadership.
Sungai Buloh is one of those seats where his party will still nominate a candidate as a token so as to not give the incumbent candidate an immediate walkover before the election date.
He said if Sungai Buloh voters vote for him, the next step he planned to do is reform Umno and followed by another step, which is to become prime minister.
In a debate among three hopefuls vying for the Umno presidency in 2018, Khairy publicly admitted that one of his regrets in life was to accept the explanation of the 1MDB scandal.
Even though he felt there were holes in the explanation provided on 1MDB, Khairy accepted it as the investigations that were conducted by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) did not implicate the prime minister at that time.
After he lost the bid, Khairy could have pushed for reforms in Umno but it appears he did nothing.
Even after he was appointed to the cabinet in February 2020, a calculated and tactical move by former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin to appoint those whose loyalty to the Umno president was questionable, Khairy did not push for any reforms in his party.
Thus, his representation that he will reform Umno if he is voted in by the voters in Sungai Buloh rings hollow.
The current bad blood between him and Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is highly likely to result in his name being omitted from the name list of MPs from Umno that would be appointed to the cabinet if BN were to obtain the mandate from voters this Saturday.
The highest position he attained electorally in Umno was youth chief and since he failed in his bid for the presidency in 2018, Khairy did not feature in any decision-making role or body in Umno
It is questionable that Khairy can reform Umno when he does not wield any clout or is in a position of authority in the party that he said he would reform.
He had the opportunity from the day he lost his bid for Umno presidency and his subsequent appointment to the cabinet continuously under the Muhyiddin and Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s administration, right up to the dissolution of Parliament.
And he failed to do it.
Possibly, a year down the road, Khairy might again lament that this is another one of the regrets in his life, that he was not able to reform Umno.
Becoming prime minister? Going by past precedents where Umno was the dominant party in the coalition it led, the party president always ascends to the premiership.
But before you get to contest and win the presidency, the candidate must go through the “baptism of fire “by getting elected as one of the vice presidents of Umno and later, proceed to contest and win the deputy president post.
Khairy is not even one of the elected vice presidents of the party at present, let alone the deputy president.
And it is obvious that none of the vice presidents, nor the deputy president, is on the same page with him on the need to reform the party.
Otherwise, they would have undertaken the reforms by now and not wait for Khairy to be voted in as the MP for Sungai Buloh.
Khairy did a good job as the health minister in rolling out the vaccination programme? Hello, that was what he was supposed to do.
And that is what the rakyat expect every minister to do. Do their job competently and responsibly.
In a bloated cabinet where a majority of its members have shown their incompetence publicly, it is not too difficult for one to shine if he or she performed the tasks that are expected from them diligently and competently.
Khairy should show that he is bringing a new form of politics to the country to set him apart from all other politicians in the country presently. He must show that he will undertake reforms not just in his party but also in the country.
At that point in future, not only voters in Sungai Buloh will vote for him but the whole country will also.
Otherwise, there is no justifiable reason why voters in Sungai Buloh should choose him to achieve his personal ambition to be the prime minister.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.