Despite talks by various Umno-Baru politicians about taking steps to reverse their party’s poor performance at GE15, it didn’t look like there was much stomach for real reform.
One of the more vocal critics of party leadership was Khairy Jamaludddin, popularly known as KJ, the former Umno-Baru politician and former health minister.
Last November, he said Umno-Baru had lost its way and that one of his aims was to make Umno-Baru a party that Malays could be proud of once again.
So, did he set into place his ideas and suggestions about reforming the party?
No! KJ was all bark and no bite!
With six state elections due and interested political parties preparing their candidates, KJ found himself the recipient of many invitations to join them.
However, during his “Keluar Sekejap” podcast, KJ said he would not rush into joining any political party and that he would require more time to consider the various offers received.
He claimed that his decision to join a political party will be taken seriously and not because six state elections are imminent.
On being given a second chance to decide on his choice of party, KJ stressed that his decision would be based on his need of contesting as a candidate.
He would willingly join a party only if the party represents his values and political stance.
Does anyone know what values KJ holds dear?
In its heyday, many Umno-Baru members including KJ failed to see or preferred not to see, that their former leader, the convicted felon Najib Abdul Razak, and other members of the Umno-Baru elite, were responsible for several scandals and financial wrongdoings.
They abused their power. They milked their positions for all they were worth.
What does that reveal about KJ? That he was clueless? That he closed one eye to the wrongdoings? That he was complicit?
Khairy says he will decide on joining a party that represents his values and political stand, but what values and political stand does he have?
His father-in-law Abdullah Badawi, Najib and the succession of prime ministers who ruled Malaysia after the longest serving PM Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, have a lot to answer for the current mess our nation is in.
They were largely responsible for allowing the theft of the country’s resources, cronyism, corruption, trips to choice overseas locations on the pretext of a study leave, white-elephant projects, the closed tenders…
KJ is without doubt a politician but surely he can see the damage inflicted on Malaysia. Are the majority of politicians spineless?
KJ must have noticed how some politicians easily swap political parties after they have been offered huge sums of money and promises of positions, to betray their electorate. Did he condone this behavior?
So, what values are KJ talking about? What is his political stand?
In most Umno-Baru general elections, leaders with selfish agendas would protect their positions and their supporters would go along with the decision.
If KJ had any sense and more importantly if he had any leadership qualities, he would have spoken out and convinced Umno-Baru members that what they were doing to the party was wrong. Why did it take twenty years for KJ to realize this?
Many of the Umno-Baru members and ordinary Malaysians know what is wrong with the party, and the country. They are waiting for the right man or woman to put things right.
KJ could have been that person, but he failed. He could have been the one to reform the aged party with its outdated race- and religion-based policies.
With his youthful exuberance, he could have dragged the politicians refusing to adapt to the 21st century or he could kick them out of the party.
He has the upbringing, modern outlook on life, ability to be at ease in an English-speaking international crowd or effortlessly blend in at a Malay kampung gathering.
Instead, KJ failed to inspire or impress us. Despite his huge following and his Oxford education, he failed to reform Umno-Baru.
With his international education and the opportunities given to him, he fell in with his superiors’ plan to keep the majority of Malaysians ignorant and ill-informed with a mediocre education system.
If he had any principles, KJ would have left Umno-Baru ages ago.
The party is not interested in new blood. It is not keen on allowing the younger breed of politicians a chance to hone and develop their skills.
The old guards protect their positions because with the power they wield, they can have easy access to more perks.
After an Umno-Baru supreme council meeting in late January, KJ was sacked for breaching party discipline during GE15. A few of his peers were banned from the party.
KJ should have seized the moment and acted as soon as the ban was announced.
A true reformist would have tried very hard to fight for what he thought was right.
Today, KJ claimed that he would make up his mind about joining a political party that represents his values and political stand.
The majority of Malaysians are still confused. What are KJ’s values and his political stand?
(Mariam Mokhtar is a Freelance Writer.)