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Monday, November 5, 2007

Khairy: I want to use ‘protection’ to change things

The Star (2/11/2007): Khairy Jamaluddin says that being the Prime Minister’s son-in-law has provided him “protection” which he wants to use to change things for the better.

The Umno Youth deputy chief said he was able to “push the envelope now” partly because of that relationship with the prime minister.

“There’s a certain extent (to which) these people in Umno will not go after me. So it gives me ‘protection’ to change things.

“If I don’t use this ‘protection’ to change things for the better, then I’m just wasting time and marking my time to go up the ladder of politics. That’s not what I am about.

“I want to use this time that I have while I have this ‘protection’ to change things, to change Umno for the better,” he said yesterday during a question-and-answer session at the Kancil Awards Festival Speakers series.

Khairy, who is married to Nori, the daughter of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, said it was true that this relationship meant he knew which buttons to push and which leaders to pull in to make a particular programme a success.

He was asked if his MyTeam football project would have received sponsorship and the wide TV3 coverage that it did had he not been the prime minister’s son-in-law.

Khairy said that even though he leveraged on the family ties, “it would have been embarrassing all-round if it didn’t work – I’d be finished.”

Thankfully though, he said, the idea was right and its execution worked well, so much so that viewership for the MyTeam programme even topped that of Siti Nurhaliza’s wedding.

He said people opened doors in many different ways and sometimes for him people opened the door because his father-in-law is the Prime Minister.

“People will tell you connections matter but at the end of the day, it’s the results (that matter).”

He said his goal in life was to contribute in whatever way he could to make Malaysia reach its potential and this was not necessarily through politics.

“I always tell my friends and family that if everything comes crashing down in politics, it’s not the end of the world.

“If after one day, my father-in-law retires and all of Umno decide to go after me, that’s reality ... politics is my profession and passion but I can live outside it,” he added.

He said that having a baby had put things in perspective.

“I hope to be in politics as long as possible to change as much as possible and see how things can be improved. But there’s always something else to life than going up the ‘greasy’ pole of politics,” he added.

Khairy also said that he felt strongly about wanting to start a genuine national conversation among people of different backgrounds, ethnicity and religions on Malaysians as a people.

“There must be a middle ground somewhere,” he added.

He also wanted to push for Malaysians to become automatic voters upon reaching 21, without having to register.


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