KUALA LUMPUR – June 25, 2018: Umno presidential hopeful Khairy Jamaluddin thinks he is the most suited to lead the party because it needs a wartime general after the disastrous defeat at the 14th general elections on May 9 which ousted it from the government after 61 straight years.
He further thinks that the new Umno president must be someone who has the energy to constantly be on the move in order to be with the people and also someone who can go toe-to-toe with the opposition.
“That is why I am offering myself now,” said Khairy in an interview with The Mole today.
He doesn’t agree with the suggestion that the Umno president must be of equal age as Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in order to go head-long against the almost 93-year-old prime minister.
“I don’t buy that argument. I think even a younger person who fully respects his elders can still play the role of an effective opposition as long as you’re not rude.
“I’ve done it before when Anwar (PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) was still the opposition leader. I went toe-to-toe against him all the time and nobody said I was rude. When you raise good points, you raise good points,” insists Khairy.
He also mentioned that Umno needs a clear leadership in order to move forward as an effective opposition and that the party president will need make changes immediately.
“I couldn’t sit still, I had a change of heart and decided to run for president instead. I feel like it’s not right for a president to be with Umno for one term and then decide to pass the position to someone else, a direct reference to statements made by another presidential hopeful, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
“We need to have a committed president who will lead Umno into the next elections.
“I believe that a party president will need to start making changes now because three years later there will probably be not enough time. A president must have the entire runway of five years to prepare.
“If they are no changes, then there will be more and more deserters (from Umno) because they might feel that this party has no chance of winning the next elections.”
Khairy was referring to the recent defection of Bagan Serai member of parliament Datuk Dr. Noor Azmi Ghazali.
He also expressed hope when asked about his thoughts on the outcome of the party’s election results over the weekend.
“So far the result looks like the people (in Umno) want to change, they want something new and fresh. I hope the mood will continue until June 30,” said Khairy.