Continuing from UMNO Da Vinci Code(s) ...
It seems that the tussle for the UMNO party’s 3 VP positions has produced some interesting alliances, mind you, alliances that are still to be confirmed, tested or even verified.
Chief among the ambitious is young 29 year old Khairy Jamaluddin, son-in-law of PM Abdullah Badawi, who wants to be on the UMNO Mount Olympus a.s.a.p. Securing one VP position would ensure that when Najib moves up to replace AAB as president when the latter retires, young Khairy would be in a position to trail Najib upstairs as No 2.
However, there are a couple or more hitches, or if not hitches, variables. These are:
(1) Until Pak Lah retires, the top 5 UMNO party positions – P, DP & the 3 VPs, are already filled, though of course the next party elections may see one or more of the VPs changed.
(2) If Khairy waits until Pak Lah leaves to open up one or more vacancies, there’s no guarantee that people may step aside for him as they would or have to now, in order to give face to Pak Lah. Once Pak Lah is out, Khairy may be on his own (note I mention ‘may’), which is the reason why the young laddie is rushing to the top. And one of the current VPs may also have ideas of his own.
(3) Khairy’s boss, Hishamuddin has expressed his intention to go for one of the VPs position, because he wants (or was forced) to make way for Khairy to become Youth Chief. But since then, as reported in an earlier posting, Khairy is leapfrogging straight to the VP slot.
Word is he told Hishamuddin to stay put as the Youth Chief. But will Hishamuddin do so? Afterall, Hishamuddin is senior to him and has even better pedigree than young Khairy to lead UMNO. Additionally, cousin Najib, while reputed not to be exactly chummy with Hishamuddin, would prefer to see his cousin rather than Khairy as a VP. As they say, blood is thicker than water.
(4) Those who don’t like Khairy because of his bossy upstart ways predict that his leapfrogging to a VP slot may be a trap, to make him lose all the top positions, namely Youth Chief and his current position, Deputy Youth Chief, and certainly the VP. In other words, he’s channelled towards a (politically) killing field (medan permati), to eliminate him (politically) once and for all.
One said: “Let him run and we will make sure he loses. If he loses, he will lose his whole political platform except for his position as Rembau Youth division chief.”
“KJ has a lot of enemies who are biding their time to ‘kill’ him off. We have to understand the ways of Malays and UMNO. People who are impatient and go against the current in reaching their objectives make a lot of enemies.”
KTemoc notes: Hmmm, if so, doesn’t he remind me of someone?
“In KJ’s case, whenever he makes a new friend, he makes an enemy at the same time. He will be stepping over and on many people if he wants to contest the vice-presidency.”
Of course his supporters pooh-poohed that, saying he would win hands down as he’s mucho popular and admired by UMNO Youth. They boasted that they have only 3 potential competitors – (1) Najib’s camp whom they have neutralised (or so they think) - (2) Selangor MB Khir Toyo who gathered the most votes in the 2004 UMNO elections to the supreme council, but whom they boasted having tamed via Pak Lah.
As for competitor No (3) Mukhriz Mahathir, Dr Mahathir’s son, Khairy’s camp conceded they are a wee worried about the man who won the most number of votes among the Youth 2004 Exco elections. Furthermore, they grudgingly acknowledged he has abilities, leadership skills and supporters. Worse, Mukhriz has strong financial resources and enjoys a high standing, as well as the backing of Ansara - the Mara Junior Science Colleges alumni – which has a large and influential network especially among students, professionals and corporate sector.
Additionally, Muhkriz also works actively with Youth chief Hishammuddin in the NGO Peace Malaysia, gaining mucho publicity for himself.
A Khairy aide said: “We know Muhkriz cannot be overlooked. Other than his popularity among Youth members, he also enjoys support from Dr Mahathir’s people, who are numerous in the party and government.”
“We are aware that if Hishammuddin takes on KJ for vice-president, Mukhriz will not just support Hishammuddin but will take the opportunity to seize the vacated Youth Chief’s position.”
So in essence, Khairy’s ambition has to be buttressed by a supportive Hishammuddin Hussein, and that the latter is willing to compromise by stepping out of the contest. But will Hishamuddin?
Contrary to Khairy camp's aggressive and boastful assertions - and don't these just remind us of someone? - independent observers commented that Khairy may be ambitious but his position is pretty ‘brittle’. he hangs on to a lot of if's and hopes. So what does Khairy do in the face of these rather daunting factors?
He knows he cannot be overly dependent on Pak Lah’s influence alone, so he has invested in Anwar Ibrahim, yes sirree, Mr Charismatic himself. Khairy makes a point of remaining on good terms with the former powerful deputy PM. He realises there are still covert Anwar supporters in UMNO, therefore his strong (and secret?) link with Anwar may be beneficial to his ambitions. He is thus rumoured to have effectively hitched his wagon to a fading star but nonetheless still a star.
Would that explain why Anwar is hemming and hawing about his commitment to stand as a PKR candidate, expecting some futuristic quid pro quo from Khairy?