KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin may not contest in the country's next general election (GE) if Barisan Nasional and Umno deputy chairman Mohamad Hasan decides to contest the Rembau parliamentary seat.
"The worst-case scenario is that I don't contest. It's fine. It's okay, I'm all right," said Mr Khairy, the current Rembau MP, during a press conference for the closing ceremony of the Organ Donation Awareness Week on Sunday.
He was responding to Datuk Seri Mohamad, who recently dropped a hint that he could run for the Rembau parliamentary seat and defend his own Rantau state seat in the GE.
Mr Khairy said Mr Mohamad had publicly spoken about contesting the Rembau seat in the state of Negeri Sembilan several times, most recently during a speech last year and then in a message conveyed by the Umno deputy.
"He (Mohamad) mentioned it a couple of years back. But then, that was quite tentative. And, of course, he made a speech last year or something, I wasn't even there, saying that he was going to contest in Rembau," Mr Khairy said. "But he's passed the message to me that I have to get out of his way."
Asked if Mr Mohamad recently sent the message, Mr Khairy said "yes". "Anyway, you know, what can I do? He's the boss," he added.
Mr Khairy said he has never made any preparations for any other seats, adding that he has been a politician for more than 20 years and the Rembau MP for three terms, nearly 15 years since the 2008 polls.
"I have not made preparations about becoming a candidate for another seat. Why would I think about disturbing another person's seat?
"But yes, if he wants to contest the Parliament seat, I will give way," said the Health Minister.
Noting that Mr Mohamad is the present Umno division chief for Rembau, Mr Khairy said he has to toe the ruling party's line if the leadership decided to let his division chief stand in that seat.
Mr Khairy, a former Umno Youth chief, also said he has not received any instructions from the Umno leadership so far, but he will abide by any decisions made by the party.
"I'm also asking some of my friends who might have a place for me," he quipped.
On Saturday, Mr Mohamad told reporters during an event in Rembau that as an Umno deputy president, he needs to contest a parliamentary seat to play a role at the federal level.
However, he did not specify which seat he would choose to stand in, adding that potential candidates to stand in Negeri Sembilan, where he is a former state chief minister, had not been discussed by Barisan yet. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK