KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has dismissed Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s endorsement of him as the best candidate for the opposition party's presidency, describing it as a backhanded compliment.
“Tun Mahathir, he is always sarcastic, so I think maybe he is poking fun at me,” Mr Khairy told reporters at the Umno headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on Monday (June 4). “I think he is being sarcastic,” he said.
Tun Dr Mahathir, the chairman of the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, said on Sunday that Mr Khairy was an eligible candidate for the post due to the fact that Umno was now deemed as a party in disarray following its huge loss at the May 9 general election.
"I think the best candidate (for the post of) Umno president is Khairy Jamaluddin," Dr Mahathir told a press conference after chairing the Kedah PH Council Meeting at Seri Mentaloon here on Sunday.
Umno’s internal party election is expected to be held next year.
It will see all top posts open for contest, after this was agreed upon by the Umno supreme council on May 22.
Nominations for the Umno party elections are open from June 1 to 17.
Mr Khairy had previously said he would contest the vice-presidency post, ending speculation that he was gunning for the Umno presidency or deputy presidency.