KJ could kiss goodbye to reform-minded support base if he joins PN, says analyst

12 Jun 2023 06:21pm
Khairy Jamaluddin
Khairy Jamaluddin

SHAH ALAM - While some analysts say Bersatu is the most suitable political platform for former Umno youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, given his political style and approach, another says the former minister could kiss his progressive minded support base goodbye.

Pacific Research Center principal adviser Oh Ei Sun said that Khairy needs to assess the political risks and benefits associated with his political move.

“He could kiss goodbye to his conventionally progressive and reform-minded support base," Oh said on Khairy joining Perikatan Nasional.

He further said while Khairy's inclusion could be an advantage to Bersatu but may not bolster the already strong support base of Bersatu and PN.

"Khairy's attractive and charismatic persona adds to his appeal, but it is just one aspect among many factors contributing to the party's overall strength," he told Sinar Daily.

Three days ago, Khairy announced that he will meet with Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin next week.

Without revealing the details, the former Rembau MP said the meeting was to announce his final decision, which is widely speculated to be related to an offer to join the party.

It was reported that Muhyiddin is set to offer Khairy the position of a supreme council member within the party.

Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research senior fellow Dr Azmi Hassan said Khairy requires a political party, such as Bersatu to effectively pursue his aspirations and further his career.

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“Eventhough the general election is still far away, the more important fact is that the state election is on Khairy’s radar so he needs a party if he wants to contest.

“Or if he wants to prove that he is still popular politically,” he said.

Azmi said just as Pas is a fitting choice for former Umno member Tan Sri Annuar Musa, Bersatu is compatible with Khairy.

“However, for Khairy to join or rejoin Umno or PKR is out of the question so Bersatu is the next best political platform available for Khairy.

"Considering Khairy's approach and style in handling political matters, one clear advantage he would gain in state election is the opportunity to become a candidate in Bersatu,” he said.

Khairy's participation would bring political value and serve as a positive addition to Bersatu's overall standing, he added.

“Let’s be honest. In Umno, he doesn't have a strong grassroots support," he added.

Meanwhile, International Islamic University Malaysia associate professor of political Science Dr Syaza Shukri said Khairy has said before that he will make a return to the political arena.

“I think he is trying to see where he could fit. Bersatu is the closest to him, ideologically and he’s always been a Malay nationalist. Pas leans more towards the Islamist ideology. Bersatu is his best choice for now," she said.

She said Bersatu would benefit from having a prominent figure like Khairy join their ranks.

The move, she said would enable Bersatu to position themselves as the "new" champions of the Malay community as voters reject Umno.

“I think the Khairy factor matters less outside of Klang Valley but if Bersatu puts Khairy either in Selangor or Negeri Sembilan, it might attract Malays who were supporters of Umno but have grown disillusioned with the party,” she said.