KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 ― Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin might be able to serve Malaysia more effectively and keep the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) in check if he quit Umno to form a multiracial party, DAP strategist Liew Chin Tong said today.
The Johor DAP chief came out with the suggestion as a way for the defeated Barisan Nasional (BN) to become an effective Opposition.
“Perhaps if Khairy Jamaluddin quits Umno and forms a new multiethnic party, it will keep Pakatan Harapan on its toes; and that will be good for the people,” he said in a statement.
Liew was responding to reported remarks by several BN leaders who are said to be mulling turning multiracial to remain politically viable in the foreseeable future.
He was doubtful if those same senior leaders have the political will to pull it through, saying Malaysian youths were one of the factors that helped turn the tide in the May 9 general election.
He added that the Umno-BN would have a hard time attracting the young generation to its side now that it’s in the Opposition, and especially after Datuk Seri Najib Razak appeared to be keeping the old Umno warlords in power during GE14.
“The average age of Pakatan candidates and elected representatives are younger than those fielded by BN in GE14, with more candidates below the age of 40 compared to Umno,” he said.
“Najib feared Umno Youth Chief Khairy’s influence to up a point where even the latter’s deputy was not fielded,” Liew said.
For BN to be an effective check-and-balance, the Ayer Hitam electoral candidate said it would have to first disassociate itself from Najib, as well as senior Umno leaders like the party’s current acting president Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi and acting deputy president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
He also said BN would also need to discard race politics it has been practising, pointing out that GE14 results showed there was a common aim by all ethnic groups who rejected the deeply entrenched concept that was continued during the Najib administration.
“Despite Najib’s propaganda machine trying very hard to project a ‘Malay versus non-Malay’ narrative, Malaysians triumphed over racial politics with Bangsa Malaysia prevailing,” Liew said.
At the same time, he warned the PH government not to take voters for granted, saying they had grown politically mature.
“The Pakatan Harapan government must not rest on its laurels as it must remember that Malaysians no longer fear the government of the day, and they know that a change of government will be peaceful,” he said.