No position for Khairy
By Adib Zalkapli
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — The Umno Youth went away with RM2 million to fund its programmes from Datuk Seri Najib Razak at yesterday’s meeting but he was non-committal about giving their chief Khairy Jamaluddin a Cabinet post.
Some Umno Youth executive councillors were disturbed with the Cabinet post request made to the party president. The Umno Youth only has its deputy Datuk Razali Ibrahim as the deputy youth and sports minister.
“Not everyone was given a chance to speak, but that’s alright, because there were too many of us, but that one issue which was brought up by an exco member was totally inappropriate,” an Umno Youth exco member said on condition of anonymity.
“Nobody should question the Prime Minister’s power to appoint the minister, he is free to appoint whoever he likes,” he added.
The Malaysian Insider understands that a member of the Umno Youth exco who asked Najib to award the wing with a ministerial position argued that the appointment would prove the administration’s good relationship with Khairy.
Questions on why Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, who lost her Lembah Pantai parliamentary seat in Election 2008, was made minister after she won the Wanita Umno chief post last year, was also raised.
“The PM talked about the suitability of Cabinet appointment and he gave the direction for Umno Youth to take and he also asked to close ranks,” he said.
Another Umno Youth exco member confirmed the request for ministerial post was made adding that the RM2 million allocation was for programmes such as the “Jelajah Pemuda 1 Malaysia” announced by Khairy yesterday.
Khairy, who is the son-in-law of former prime minister and Umno president Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, is the first Umno Youth chief in many years not to get a Cabinet post. The only other one in recent history is Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in 1993.
While Razali was made deputy minister, defeated Umno Youth chief contender Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir was appointed deputy minister of international trade and industry.
The meeting between the Umno Youth exco with Najib yesterday was described as normal “courtesy visit” by Khairy and he also dismissed the suggestion that the meeting was an attempt to resolve a leadership crisis insisting that the wing is not in any crisis.
The visit took place just about two weeks after a heated Umno Youth meeting where an exco member, Hishamuddin Yahya, was said to have asked Khairy to quit for being ineffective.
Hishamuddin had also called for fresh election to choose a more effective line-up of Youth leaders.
The Putrajaya Umno Youth deputy chief declined to comment when asked about what transpired at yesterday’s meeting.