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Khairy needs 'deep pockets' for political comeback, says analyst

Without financial support, the former Rembau MP will go nowhere, says Shamsul Amri Baharuddin.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
2 minute read
Former Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin attends the recent Umno general assembly in Kuala Lumpur, Jan 12. Photo: Bernama
Former Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin attends the recent Umno general assembly in Kuala Lumpur, Jan 12. Photo: Bernama

As debate and speculation continue to swirl about the post-Umno future of one-time youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, a veteran analyst says that at the very least, the former Rembau MP will need significant financial support in order to make a political comeback. 

Shamsul Amri Baharuddin of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia said Khairy would need sponsors to provide him with the much-needed funds. 

Without this, he said, Khairy would go nowhere.

"Before he can enter any political party, he needs financiers," Shamsul said. "If he has no capital, his influence will be limited." 

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, Shamsul said the matter of "deep pockets" or political financing had long been a part of any analysis of Malaysia's political situation. 

Citing the example of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he said the former prime minister had had three billionaires behind him, allowing him to finance his party Pejuang within a very short period of time despite ultimately failing to win public support. 

"Khairy must find his political investors," Shamsul said. "After that, everything else will come." 

Khairy, who held the health, science, technology and innovation, and youth and sports portfolios in various Cabinets, was sacked from Umno last month in what was seen as a purge of those critical of the top leadership.

He later said that he was open to all options although he was still holding to his ambition of becoming the prime minister – a goal first announced during his campaign for the Sungai Buloh constituency last November. 

Khairy eventually lost the race for Sungai Buloh, as well as his place in Parliament. 

Both Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin and PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim said after Khairy's sacking that they were open to considering applications by those given the boot by Umno. 

In a later statement, however, Anwar hinted that the door might be closed to Khairy in the interest of keeping the peace in his coalition government. 

Khairy had been vocal against Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, including on the recent decision at the party's annual general assembly to block off any contest for the top two posts.

Zahid was instrumental in gathering the support of Barisan Nasional MPs for the coalition government led by Anwar and Pakatan Harapan following the inconclusive results of the November election. 

He also played a significant role in obtaining the support of Gabungan Parti Sarawak and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah. 

Political analyst Mazlan Che Soh said Khairy did not appear particularly interested in offers from either Bersatu or PKR.

He told MalaysiaNow that Khairy had already rejected these, albeit in a diplomatic manner. 

But he also played down the odds of Khairy joining Islamist party PAS, saying it was more likely that he would take a political hiatus. 

Mazlan said Khairy had clearly demonstrated his hope of one day returning to Umno.

"But for now, he might be considering other options," he said.