Khairy open to other parties, won’t return to Umno until it changes

Using football as analogy, sacked former leader says looking for new ‘club’

(The Vibes) – Fresh from his expulsion from Umno, Khairy Jamaluddin says all options are now on the table as far as joining a new political party is concerned, and that he is currently listening to various offers.

Any return to Umno, however, will depend on whether there is radical change within the party that sacked him on Friday night. This includes changes to the top leadership, Khairy told a radio interview this morning.

Speaking on BFM Radio’s The Breakfast Grille programme, the former Rembau MP said it is still his intention to be actively involved in politics, but noted that any decision he makes will have to be properly considered.

Drawing parallels between his current situation and football, the former Umno Youth chief said: “I’m like a free transfer. I’m looking for a new club, scanning my options and what makes sense going forward. It’s not a decision I will take lightly.”

Khairy, who was Umno Youth chief from 2008 to 2018, said any new party he joins must be one that is aligned to his vision for the country, which is to be inclusive, progressive and promotes good governance.

The next party must also be a “comfortable fit” for him and that there must be chemistry.

“Of course, joining a new party will be awkward at first, as presumably you would have been at loggerheads with the party at some point. But that is politics, about winning over people.”

Asked if his cordial relationship with PKR’s Rafizi Ramli and Nurul Izzah Anwar meant the Pakatan Harapan outfit could be his new home, Khairy said: “I will go and listen to everyone who wants to see me. There’s no shortage of lunch invitations this week.”

“I’m going to listen to what people have to say. But my message is, I’m in no rush to decide. Let me take my time. I will be very open to whoever wants to meet with me.”

He also did not rule out the possibility of contesting in the coming elections in six states, due by this year.

Khairy’s interview was held just three days after he was given the boot from Umno as part of a massive internal purge to cleanse the party of supposed dissenters.

Although official reasons were not disclosed, his sacking is believed to be related to remarks calling for party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s resignation after Umno suffered its worst electoral performance since its formation, while accusing the party of losing its way and needing “internal cleansing”.

Other than Khairy, another high profile leader sacked from Umno was Tan Sri Noh Omar, while Sembrong MP and former party vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and former information chief Shahril Sufian Hamdan were among those suspended for six years.

Umno ‘at point of no return’

Commenting on the possibility of returning to Umno, Khairy said this hinges on the party undergoing an internal overhaul, noting how its “brand equity” and leadership have deteriorated in recent years.

Read more here