A senior Putrajaya Umno leader has defended a plan to name Khairy Jamaluddin as the party’s candidate for the administrative capital in the next polls, as a leadership rift widens in the division.
Putrajaya Umno deputy leader Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz said Khairy suits the constituency as he is considered a national leader.
“I welcome someone with a ministerial position and the qualities to stand here as it will immensely benefit the people of Putrajaya,” he told MalaysiaNow.
He was asked to respond to a report that incumbent MP Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, or Ku Nan, has been busy blocking any likelihood for Khairy to contest in the seat.
MalaysiaNow recently cited Umno sources as saying that Khairy, the current Rembau MP, is likely to be given Putrajaya as a replacement seat in the next general election.
Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan had in the past indicated that he would make a parliamentary debut through Rembau.
With Ku Nan no longer qualified to defend the seat following a corruption conviction, sources say he has been promoting his son to take over his role in a bid to preserve his heritage.
Since it was gazetted as a federal seat, Putrajaya, dominated by civil servants and considered a “safe seat” for any ruling coalition, has known no other MP than Ku Nan.
In December, the Kuala Lumpur High Court found Ku Nan guilty of accepting a bribe of RM2 million from a businessman and sentenced him to 12 months in jail.
He has filed an appeal against the conviction, but in the meantime must give way to his deputy, Faisal, to lead the Putrajaya Umno division.
In what is believed to be an attempt to stop Faisal from leading the division, Ku Nan gathered a meeting to get the agreement of Putrajaya Umno leaders to refer Faisal to the party’s disciplinary committee over remarks critical of the president.
Faisal, who is also the press secretary to Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa, said he had seen the contents of a complaint lodged against him, and had already presented a lengthy defence against the accusations during a disciplinary hearing.
He said the party has yet to make a decision.
Annuar and party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi recently had a public fallout over the latter’s support for PKR president Anwar Ibrahim in his bid to topple the Perikatan Nasional government.
Faisal meanwhile said he had been told of Ku Nan’s speech by those who attended the gathering, adding that he had explained the issues raised about him in the WhatsApp group of the Putrajaya division heads and the Putrajaya divisional committee.