Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Khairy makes a tilt for Umno Youth chief

Khairy makes a tilt for Umno Youth chief

REMBAU, Sept 17 - Khairy Jamaluddin today announced that he will contest the Umno Youth chief's position, ending months of speculation and setting the stage for one of the most ferocious battles in party elections in December.

His decision to contest will surprise many, including those in the ruling party.

In the aftermath of Election 2008, it appeared that the No. 2 in the Youth wing ~ who was among those blamed for Barisan Nasional's lack of popularity with voters - would give the top job the miss.

He was advised to keep a low profile, concentrate on his work as the MP for Rembau and rebuild his image among Malaysians.

But in recent months, there has been growing support among Umno Youth executive committee members and heads of the state youth wings for his candidacy.

He will join Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir and Datuk Seri Khir Toyo as candidates for the top position in Umno Youth, usually a stepping stone for greater things in the party.

At this point, there is no clear favourite for the top position and the final outcome of nominations could depend on who the current leader Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein supports.

The talk in Umno Youth circles is that the Education Minister is not a fan of the former Selangor Menteri Besar, whom he blames for a host of problems including the demolition of temples which led to the rise of the Hindu Rights Action Force.

So, in all likelihood, it will be a straight fight between Khairy and Mukhriz, a mouth-watering prospect given the antipathy between the two of them and their mentors, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

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