KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — Khairy Jamaluddin today dismissed Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s suggestion that having party elections before the 15th General Election (GE15) would weaken Umno.

Khairy, who is Rembau MP, reminded Najib who was then Umno president that Umno’s decision to postpone party elections back in 2018 to pave the way for the 14th General Election did not help Barisan Nasional’s chances.

“The suggestion was made by Najib, and I just want to respond. Umno postponed party elections in 2018 because of GE14. Yet we (Barisan) still lost,” Khairy was quoted as saying by The Star.

Najib had claimed yesterday that holding party elections for Umno to choose its leadership before GE15 could cause the political party to weaken and lose members to other political parties.

He said those who lost in party polls could instead be poached by other political parties to act as candidates in GE15.

Najib, who is also Pekan MP, added that it would not be fair to have elections for Umno’s leadership positions if contenders with positions in government do not give up such posts.

A day before, Khairy had on social media called for Umno to hold its party elections this year to resolve the party’s internal issues and to expedite such internal elections, instead of holding it after GE15.

Khairy said these several days after Umno held its general assembly, where it was decided that the party would cut ties with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and where its party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said all Umno ministers in the current Perikatan Nasional (PN) Cabinet would step down from their positions if called to do so at any time.

Khairy was formerly an Umno Youth chief up until 2018. Khairy had in the 2018 Umno elections contested for the presidential post but had lost to Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Separately, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican also voiced his support for Khairy’s call for party elections to be held before GE15.

“After the 2018 party elections, Umno pledged that there would not be any more postponements in future.

“The pledge has been made to the grassroots.

“The party elections must be held to form a fresh team that will lead the party in GE15,” Reezal was quoted as saying.


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