KJ a 'hot item' or is he trying to show relevance to political parties?

20 Jun 2023 11:03am
It  is widely known that Khairy has become a 'hot item' and subject of discussion among various parties after he was fired from Umno in January - FILE PIX
It is widely known that Khairy has become a 'hot item' and subject of discussion among various parties after he was fired from Umno in January - FILE PIX

SHAH ALAM - The involvement of former Umno youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin in economic discussions with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and members of the cabinet has raised 1001 questions among keen political observers.

Although the discussion was to get views and ideas about the national economy from all walks of life, Khairy's presence in one room with Anwar has definitely stolen the attention of the people.

It was reported that that Khairy's presence in the meeting was at Anwar's invitation which shows his openness to hear views from various parties in determining the direction of the country's economy including from his critics.

Khairy's presence in the meeting has given the impression that he is in support of the Pakatan Harapan chairman and the unity government.

University of Malaya (UM), Department of Political Science, Public Administration and Development Studies, Dr Mohammad Tawfik Yaakub is of the view, that Khairy is often seeked out in economic discussions because of his background as well as his achievements in the previous administration as Youth and Sports Minister as well as Science,Technology and Innovation Minister

"Khairy has demonstrated his credibility through his performance of holding three different portfolios in the previous administration, which is maybe the cause for this administration to invite him in economic discussions, no one can deny his abilities.

“It illustrates that even though Khairy was fired from Umno, that was more due to political reasons of his relationship with the party president, but in the context of solving the economic issues of the nation, this matter crosses party borders or political affiliations.

"One must also count the fact that Anwar's relationship with his economy minister is reportedly strained as a result of the party elections, which also affects the Prime Minister's work pattern in choosing who is able to deal with the economic and political issues of the country," he told Sinar Premium.

Mohammad Tawfik said Khairy had proven his mettle when he managed the Health Ministry during the Covid-19 pandemic, which made Anwar call him for the meeting, although this has raised questions of whether Khairy was keen in joining Pakatan Harapan.

"We can see from Khairy's experience of managing the Covid-19 and vaccines involving state funds. Although there were flaws in management of the process, I feel that he carried his task quite well "For me, in an emergency situation such as the fall of the ringgit and the national debt reaching almost RM1.5 trillion, Anwar's actions are relevant," he explained.

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Although Khairy is not an economic advisor, Anwar's actions to ask for his views, will silence political whispers that Prime Minister is a person who is harsh and is not open to views outside of PH.

"In terms of politics, Anwar's actions might affect his close relationship with Umno's president. However Anwar's way of placating his political enemies such as providing additional funds in Kelantan ( a stronghold of Pas) and the latest appearance of Khairy in the economic committee, seems like an effort to ease the political temperature of the country.

Anwar's actions in listening and bringing in people with opposing views to his in today's government will have a positive impact on the country.

"This is because economic issues affect all Malaysians, economic issues need to be discussed fairly and holistically as it involves people, lives." he said.

Going into the topic of the political journey of the son-in-law of former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, it is widely known that Khairy has become a 'hot item' and subject of discussion among various parties after he was fired from Umno in January.

Even before his participation in Anwar's economic went viral, Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had first offered the former Member of Parliament for Rembau to join Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and become a member of the party's supreme council.

On Monday, after giving the illusion that he would be in Anwar's camp, Khairy later shared a picture of him with Muhyiddin creating more questions on what would be his next step in his political journey.

O2 Research Malaysia Chief Researcher Anis Anwar Suhaimi, sid Khairy's meeting with Anwar and Muhyiddin is not a strong enough sign to show where his political alliances lie.

"I feel like Khairy's political approach now is in the evaluation stage, where he is just gauging responses from the people in determining his political position whether to remain neutral or side with Umno

"Khairy also knows that is not enough to rely on specific voter segments because of voter attitudes which have becomeincreasingly dynamic and unbound with loyalty to one party," she said.

Thus the image that Khairy seems to be putting across is of someone that can be a relevant asset for all political parties.

"He will discuss things which is based on policies in various platforms which are open to sharing ideas and to any party leaders that recognise his views.

"The influence he has today is capable of influencing public opinion as well as give validity to the party he supports

"Therefore his social media reach cannot be taken lightly because it can affect the political and economic course of the country," he explained.

"Khairy still has a period of time to track his course in his political career. Past political experience has taught him a lot not to make hasty decisions.

"By continuing to appear in political discourses and making his presence felt, he would be able to witness the sentiments of the people towards Unity Government through the upcoming state elections and the moves he is making will help Khairy stay relevant and bring his political career further," she concluded.