1:02pm 03/05/2023
DAP’s Ong is wrong! KJ is not PM material
By:Mariam Mokhtar

What was former DAP MP for Bangi Ong Kian Ming thinking when he suggested former Umno-Baru leaders Khairy Jamaluddin and Shahril Hamdan join DAP because “the party needs prime minister candidates.”

Whilst taking part in a podcast called “Keluar Sekejap,” where the discussions ranged from local issues to the three men’s break from active politics, Khairy asked Ong whether he and Shahril should join DAP.

An expression of surprise and much laughter from the hosts accompanied Ong’s reply when he agreed that both Khairy and Shahril should join DAP, because they “both fit the bill,” and moreover, the party needed prime ministerial candidates!

Was Ong joking or was he serious?

There must be at least one person with the charisma, the right credentials, ideal character and proper qualifications to be PM in the pool of 15 million Malaysians who are not under 18, or who are not over 70 years old.

Why did Ong have to choose these two? Khairy and Shahril are career politicians who were subsequently rejected by their own party.

Malaysians are tired of the same old faces who lack fresh ideas. We want new blood, and not former “has-beens.”

Was Ong being diplomatic or was he making a tactical move?

State elections are on the horizon and did Ong want to cultivate an image of the DAP making overtures to Khairy and Shahril, and be seen as reaching out to the Malay leaders in a spirit of political sportsmanship?

Was Ong trying to suggest that welcoming Khairy and Shahril into the DAP fold meant that the party was willing to compromise and by the same token, it would show that Khairy was amenable to shedding his former party’s race-based roots?

No one should be that naive. The whole maneuver is an exercise in futility, as the Umno-Baru genetic make-up, comprising the three Rs, is not easily shed.

Worse still, did Ong shoot himself in the foot?

When he said DAP lacked prime ministerial candidates, he probably upset some of his colleagues.

There are a number of outstanding politicians in the party and a few do have what it takes to be PM. Ong is blind.

The potential PMs may not be Malay or Muslim, but more importantly, they are Malaysian and are keen on serving Malaysians, improve the system and uphold Malaysian interests, unlike most Umno-Baru politicians who merely enter politics to serve themselves and get rich quickly.

Their ambitions are guided by the 3P’s: power, position and perks.

So, what does Ong see in Khairy that most of us cannot see? Could he list Khairy’s outstanding political achievements ever since he became a member of the cabinet in 2013?

Khairy has a lot of personal baggage and his critics claim that his meteoric rise up the greasy social and political ladder was because he was the son-in-law of a former PM.

Could Ong look into Khairy’s political history and list his contributions in making Malaysia a better place for all?

As MP, did Khairy publicly voice out against the endemic corruption, racism and religious extremism which if left unchecked will destroy this country?

Khairy doesn’t even have the courage to take the bold step of suggesting Umno-Baru become a party which does not just represent only the Malay community.

He once said he wanted to reform the party, but he is still stuck in a race-based mindset.

Khairy is a political opportunist but he made a grave error of judgment in the months before GE14.

He must have known that Najib was up-to-his-neck in the 1MDB fiasco, but Khairy hedged his bets and backed Najib (and his spouse Rosmah), thinking that the law would never catch up as long as Umno-Baru was in power.

Imagine Khairy’s shame when Malaysians voted PH in 2018.

Khairy has no backbone nor has he any integrity. He and Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah went on a nationwide roadshow badmouthing the then Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim in “Sodomy II.”

Character assassination is not PM material!

Around RM109 million went missing in the sports ministry, and although it happened before Khairy was made the sports minister, he kept quiet about the identity of the man who embezzled the money.

Why? Was this corrupt official well protected? Was he ever punished? Who is he?

In March 2021, as the science, technology and innovation minister, Khairy was voted the best performing minister in the Perikatan National (PN) cabinet.

In a joint newspaper poll conducted by Sin Chew Daily and Sinar Harian, Khairy received the highest score of 11,125 votes, but many Malaysians were skeptical.

Khairy’s success, they said, was because of the “vaccine boost” as he was the minister in charge of the coronavirus vaccination program.

The critics did not think he would have scored as highly if there had been no coronavirus pandemic.

There is also the issue of transparency.

Perhaps, the best test for Ong to uncover a potential PM candidate is to organize a debate between Rafizi Ramli and Khairy. Then we can evaluate for ourselves the candidate with integrity, intellect and credibility.

After all, it is not the university one attends that matters; it is what one does with the degree that is more important. 


  1. Malaysiakini: KJ asks if he should join DAP, Ong says yes – party needs PM candidate
  2. The Edge Markets: Rafizi wants to debate with Khairy on Anwar verdict
  3. Yahoo News: Muhyiddin backs Umno lawyer’s roadshow on Anwar verdict

(Mariam Mokhtar is a Freelance Writer.)


Mariam Mokhtar
Khairy Jamaluddin
Ong Kian Ming
Shahril Hamdan


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