Sunday, March 29, 2009

Check Khairy, mate

Check Khairy, mate

MARCH 29 - Sometimes, if not always, pawns have to be sacrificed to make way for a powerful queen in a chess game.

And in the arcane 64 squares of Umno politics, the players themselves are often unawares if they are playing black or white.

At this juncture, with a new grandmaster stepping in to play the game, more pawns might have to yield to keep old grandmasters happy — as chess is played one move at a time.

One such pawn could be the winner of the hotly-fought Umno Youth chief contest, Khairy Jamaluddin. The Rembau MP may turn into a loser as part of the play initiated by new president Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak to close ranks and consolidate the party.

Khairy may end up being discarded in order to bring Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad back to Umno, the party he founded in 1988 when it replaced the original one — after it was deemed illegal at the end of a vicious chess game.

Despite the smiles and feel-good atmosphere in the Dewan Merdeka yesterday, Dr Mahathir will not accept Khairy as minister or deputy minister.

His followers have indicated and stated their views in no uncertain terms to the new party president’s camp, who are now finalising the new cabinet — chosen from the president’s men and new faces thrown into the fray by the 2,500 delegates.

The boos for Khairy have also underlined the outgoing prime minister’s son-in-law’s Pyrhhic victory against Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir and Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

This has always been the fear of Najib’s camp, to balance the wants of Dr Mahathir and not give the impression that he is running the government.

In the aftermath of the party polls for all wings four days ago, Najib’s aides have made hints that Wanita Umno and Puteri Umno winners might not get cabinet positions.

This is ostensibly a move to rebuild the party, widen support and regain the people’s confidence.

It is easier as Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil lost in Election 2008 and the Puteri Umno leader is not seen as a party heavyweight.

In reality, it might be an elaborate effort to exhibit that Khairy is not being victimised or shunned in the party — when is omitted from the cabinet line-up.

Check Khairy, mate, would be the gambit of the day if the new grandmaster wants the queen to remain powerful.

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