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Pak Lah is not sleepy afterall

His son-in-law Khairy and Shahrizat won in the UMNO Youth and Wanita is a good sign to check Najib’s influence.

Najib tainted image may jeopardize his dream team. Muhyiddin and Hishamuddin better watch up their back side.

Mahathir is a senile politician for yesteryears, he shall spend more valuable time with his grandchildren instead of barking like a mad dog.

Khairy comes back from the dead

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 – Twelve months ago, he was nearly dead and buried.

Blamed for the disastrous showing of the Barisan Nasional; lampooned as the power behind the throne; stung by the backlash that sent his father-in-law into a permanent tailspin; singed at every turn by the formidable Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the political epitaph of Khairy Jamaluddin was being written.

Even his closest friends told him that he needed to consider making a strategic retreat – stay clear of the contest for the top position in Umno Youth, make a mark as the Rembau MP in Parliament and come back to fight another day. Sound advice then given the poisonous sentiment in the party towards Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, his family and circle of advisors.

Not so sound advice today given the victory he pulled out of the bag to become the Umno Youth chief, defeating former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Khir Toyo and Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, youngest son of the former prime minister.

Only after several recounts and delays in vote counting because of a dispute in procedures, the result was announced. Khairy polling 304 votes, against Khir Toyo’s 252 votes and 232 votes for

For Khairy, today was more than just acquiring another position in the ruling party or putting himself in line for a place in the Najib administration.

Today was about showing that he could contest an election on his own and win.

In 2004, he gained a cheap victory because the number two position in Umno Youth was uncontested, with his critics alleging that being married to Abdullah’s daughter had something to do with the sudden withdrawal of his challengers.

Today was about showing that it is possible to enter into a battle with Dr Mahathir backing your opponents and still emerge victorious.

He has been on Dr Mahathir’s radar for a long time since the former prime minister decided that Khairy was deciding government policies on behalf of Abdullah; since he decided that Khairy was working to undermine all that he built up over 22 years.

In the last week, Dr Mahathir has called Khairy a corrupt politician, someone with designs to become the youngest prime minister ever. He urged party delegates against supporting Khairy, even leaving a voice mail message for many delegates.

There is little chance that Dr Mahathir will stop his attacks against Khairy and will most certainly now focus on persuading Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak against giving the new Umno Youth chief any position in the Cabinet. It is the convention for the head of the youth wing to be made a
deputy minister or minister.

For at least 24 hours, Khairy can enjoy the feeling of coming up against Dr Mahathir and his ilk and surviving. The task ahead will be daunting.

He will have to unite a youth movement where members appear to have loyalties to three men and where jarring rhetoric is still the staple diet.

More importantly, Khairy will have to repair his image outside the party, which has been sullied by the censure he received from the Umno disciplinary board for breaching party ethics and tarred by his propensity to play to the Umno gallery.

Arguably, it is his standing outside the party that needs to be rebuilt if he harbours any hopes of moving further up the political ladder.

Still, for a politician who was considered dead and buried 12 months ago, those challenges may not be all that intimidating.

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