KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who was sacked from Umno last Friday, still hopes to become prime minister one day.
The former Umno Youth chief who was ousted over “violating party discipline” after 23 years with the party said he would like to lead the country some day.
“Right now, I am not sure how that will happen but I know that being a politician is not a linear path,” he told Malaysia business radio station BFM on Monday.
“There are many paths people go down before they reach there and I do still want to lead the country one day.
“How I will get there I do not know, but I want to ensure that the decisions I make in the next few months are based on a vision of a country I am happy and comfortable with.”
Mr Khairy said he would not appeal against his sacking as it would mean appealing to those who had sacked him.
“I am not planning on appealing as there is no point. Those I will be appealing to are the ones that executed it,” he said.
Mr Khairy added that he still considered Umno president Zahid Hamidi a friend. “But he probably does not consider me a friend any more,” he said.
Mr Khairy said he would take his time contemplating his future in politics and confirmed that there has been a slew of offers since he failed to win the Sungai Buloh parliamentary seat in last November’s general election, and now after his Umno sacking.
“I will decide and make an announcement in due course. I am a huge football fan, and right now, I am like a free transfer looking for a club and scanning my options,” the former youth and sports minister said.
“It is not a decision I will make lightly and be flippant about as politics is serious business. I still want to be involved in politics, but whether and when I want to be back in the front line of politics, I am unsure.
“State elections (in six states) that will need to take place in the next six months is an option, or I can give that a miss and focus on business opportunities as well.
“It was 23 years of my life, through thick and thin, with (Umno).
“It is difficult for me to move on as far as my own heart is concerned, as I did not leave, I was thrown out, sacked from the party. I need to adjust to that reality and if I choose another vehicle, I have to do so carefully.”
Asked about his criteria for joining a political party, Mr Khairy replied the party has to be aligned with his own vision for the country.
“One that is inclusive, based on good governance and is progressive. It has to be a comfortable fit and the chemistry has to be there. Joining a new political party will be awkward at first as presumably I would have been at loggerheads in the past with opposing parties. But that is what politics is about.
“That is something I am up for, winning people over.”
Asked about his friendship with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) deputy president Rafizi Ramli and PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, Mr Khairy said he will listen to everyone who wants to meet him.
“I am in no rush to decide. I will be open with whoever wants to meet me,” he said.
On whether he would return to Umno one day, Mr Khairy said he fears Umno’s gradual decline may have reached the point of no return.
“If I do contemplate returning to Umno, it has to be different from the Umno of today. The brand and leadership have deteriorated and I am not sure it will be able to resuscitate itself,” he said.
Umno sacked Mr Khairy and its former supreme council member Noh Omar on Jan 27.
Former defence minister and Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein was suspended for six years, along with former Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK