Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Umno Youth meets Najib amid rumours of infighting

The Umno Youth executive committee will meet Datuk Seri Najib Razak this evening amid rumours of attempts by certain leaders from the wing to unseat its chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

An Umno Youth committee member confirmed the scheduled meeting but described it as a “courtesy visit” and has nothing to do with the heated exco meeting that took place late last month.

During that meeting, Umno Youth exco Hishamuddin Yahya was said to have told Khairy to quit for being ineffective.

Hishamuddin had also called for fresh election to choose a more effective line-up of Youth leaders.

“The meeting was a place for us to address our differences, there is some truth to what was leaked but it is still not too serious, let us meet the PM first,” an Umno Youth exco member said on condition of anonymity.

Another Umno Youth insider said the visit to the party president had been planned since the last party election and it was only a coincidence that the date was confirmed after the heated meeting.

The Malaysian Insider understands some Umno Youth exco members were also unhappy with the stand taken by Khairy on the “Allah” row and the attacks on the places of worship.

“He should have called for an emergency exco meeting for us to deliberate on a common stand and not act all by himself,” said another Umno Youth exco member.

Khairy had reportedly said Umno has been straying from middle ground on the issue. He also supported the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims in East Malaysia but not in the Peninsula.

The consensus among Umno Youth leaders opposed to Khairy’s leadership was that the first-term Rembau MP has failed to bring together supporters of Datuk Seri Dr Khir Toyo and Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, whom he defeated during party election in March last year.

But after report of the rift surfaced, Khairy made known on his Facebook status that he was attending an Umno Youth function in Labuan with Hishamuddin.

Days later, he appeared together with Mukhriz at a Juara Rakyat event in Jerlun, Kedah, and several pictures of them were also uploaded on Khairy’s facebook page.

Khairy, who is former prime minister and Umno president Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s son-in-law, is the first Umno Youth chief in many years not to get a Cabinet post. The only other one in recent history is Datuk Ahmaf Zahid Hamidi in 1993.

His deputy Datuk Razali Ibrahim was made the deputy youth and sports minister after Najib took over the government last year while Mukhriz was appointed deputy minister of international trade and industry.

Khairy himself will prove his credentials this morning by leading the wing to send a protest note to the Australian High Commission over calls by 50 Australian MPs to Putrajaya to drop the sodomy charges against Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Malay rights group Perkasa will send a similar protest note at 10am, 30 minutes after the Umno Youth leader is scheduled to hand the wing’s protest memorandum.

News courtesyof Malaysian Insider

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