PETALING JAYA: Umno members should accept the reality of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal as denial will continue to hurt the party, says Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin.
In an interview with Utusan Malaysia, Khairy said Umno members should not defend the 1MDB issue as there is nothing to defend.
"1MDB is not a perception or slander but it is indeed a case that has been proven in the United States. What is there to hide? Just admit it," he said.
Khairy said it will be difficult for Umno and Barisan Nasional to rise again as long as the 1MDB issue hangs over their heads.
He discredited the notion that 1MDB was beneficial to the rakyat through the pilgrimage sponsorship programme, saying that doing charitable work does not cancel the crime.
"We cannot cleanse the sins of our robbery by using a part of our loot to do good," he said.
He said Umno members should not live in denial.
"If we continue to deny the reality, I feel the impact on Umno is worse. Because the rakyat will say, they have lost and have been exposed, but they still do not want to accept."
Khairy said he prefers to be realistic about the situation despite allegations that he is an opportunist.
"When we are faced with this reality and we do not want to embrace the reality, something is wrong.
"Those who still want to support, give excuses and deny the reality, they are in fact the biggest liability to Umno," he added.
On speculations that Umno members are seeking to switch parties, Khairy said he is sticking with the party.
"If the Umno ship is sinking or everyone has jumped off the ship, I will probably be the last sailor onboard to go down together with the ship," Khairy said.
Khairy admitted that one of the reasons Umno is struggling to recover from its loss at GE14 was due to the lack of funds.
He said Umno used to be "all about the money", where things are not able to happen without money.
"Now we have to think about how to manage the party without money. There are many ways to do it, we can have public funding, low-cost programmes with high impact, we can use social media.
"For me, this is the best time for us to rewrite the way we do politics and to re-teach a new generation of how to conduct politics without money," he added.