Khairy supporters dismiss mutiny talk

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid, Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Grassroots support for Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin remains strong amid widespread talk of a revolt against his fledgling leadership, party leaders said today.

Sources close to the Rembau MP, who is also the son-in-law of former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, admitted that there was simmering dissatisfaction within the Umno wing, confirming FMT’s report of upheavals, especially in Selangor and Perak.

They spoke of mutinous tendencies in Selangor and Perak, but said these were against the Umno Youth chiefs of the two states.

Some 14 Youth chiefs in Selangor are said to have prepared a memorandum demanding the resignation of Suhaimi Ghazali for his alleged ineffectiveness as leader. Suhaimi is a staunch Khairy supporter.

Some sources said the protest against Suhaimi was a reveberation of discontent with Khairy, but some Umno Youth divisional leaders, like Ampang’s Safarizul Mustafa, rejected the claim.

“Yes there was factionalism in Umno Youth, especially during the wing’s election in 2009, when we were split into three camps,” Safarizul told FMT. “But now there is no such thing. We are behind our leader and it is because of him that the wing is moving effectively.”

Suhaimi has denied reports that he has tendered his resignation following the news of the protest memorandum. He said he was still very much the Selangor Umno Youth chief.

The three camps are those of Khairy, former Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, and Deputy International Trade Minister Mukhriz Mahathir. The three fought each other for the Umno Youth leadership.

Safarizul was Khir’s campaign manager and is known to be a loyal follower of the former MB.

Political ploy

Khairy was unpopular in the early days of his leadership, but has since proven his mettle, according to Safarizal.

“In Selangor, Khairy was the one who tried to bring the warring camps together under a programme called Perpaduan (Unity), in which clean leaders acceptable to all camps were chosen for the state’s top Umno Youth posts,” said a division chief who did not want to be named.