Khairy wants Umno poll to show party has changed

Justin Ong
Khairy says opponents Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah are both experienced politicians and will not resort to negative campaigns. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — Umno presidential hopeful Khairy Jamaluddin said he was certain the contest to lead the party would not devolve into mudslinging and character assassination.

In a forum organised by Sinar Harian today, the outgoing Umno Youth chief added that opponents Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah were both experienced politicians and would not resort to negative campaigns.

“Both Zahid and Tengku Razaleigh are gentlemen, as am I, and I am confident that the election will not feature character assassination

“I am sure there won’t be character assassination or money politics in the election. We must show that this is a new Umno, an awakened Umno that has learned its lesson,” he said.

The contest for the Umno presidency should be approached as healthy competition within a family unit, he said.

During a previous familiarisation session for candidates to meet with delegates, he said the event was very cordial.

“It was very gentlemanly,” he said, adding that winners should be graceful while the vanquished should harbour “no hard feelings”.

“The problem is that, previously, the contest became too personal, which caused schisms that extend all the way to the lowest rungs of the party.”

Khairy said such fierce competition must be discarded completely.