All eyes on Umno supreme council meet today

PETALING JAYA: The Umno supreme council meeting today will be closely watched by political observers amidst mounting speculation that disciplinary action will be taken against former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Several Umno leaders were tight-lipped about the supreme council meeting, briefly saying that no agenda had been set for the meeting.

“There is no fixed agenda for the supreme council meeting. It is just the usual monthly meeting with no specific topics to be discussed.

“Let the meeting conclude first,” said an Umno MP who wanted to remain anonymous.

Another senior Umno leader, who will be attending the supreme council meeting today, also said he wasn’t sure.

“I have no idea what the meeting agenda would be,” said the Umno leader.

While the agenda for the supreme council meeting today hasn’t been set, it is understood that there will be discussions on actions to be taken against Khairy for claiming that “imported delegates” were used at the recent party general assembly.

Singapore Institute of International Affairs senior fellow Dr Oh Ei Sun said that public perception of Umno’s decision to take disciplinary action against Khairy would depend on whether the former health minister could provide evidence to support his claims.

“If he (Khairy) could and they still fire him, then, indeed, it does not reflect well on the party.

“But if he (Khairy) couldn’t, the party would be justified in taking action against him,” Oh said.

According to Oh, “anything is possible” in the outcome of the Umno supreme council meeting.

“But, perhaps, it would be preceded by some form of party disciplinary proceedings,” added Oh.

Oh also said that Khairy and Umno are a “good fit for one another”, as the former health minister possesses public charisma and Umno has a sizable grassroots organisation.

For Khairy to grow in another political party, Oh said it is crucial for Khairy to align himself with a strong party.

“To thrive beyond Umno, Khairy would likely have to park himself in another formidable party machinery so that the complementary mechanism could continue to work in his favour,” Oh added.

Senior fellow at the Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research (NASR) Dr Azmi Hassan said allegations made by Khairy at the recent Umno general assembly were a serious matter.

“Because it implies the resolution of not contesting the top two positions.

“Khairy cannot provide proof that some delegates in the hall were ‘outsider delegates’. So, this is a very serious accusation,” said Azmi.

However, Azmi said the Umno supreme council is likely to decide on suspending Khairy from the party rather than terminating his party membership.

“By being suspended, it is going to be difficult for Khairy to join another political party,” said Azmi.

Azmi also noted debates about Khairy’s political future if the former three-term Rembau MP joined another party.

“Some say he (Khairy) will be an asset to any party he joins. The problem with Khairy in Umno is that it has been proven that he (Khairy) does not have strong grassroots support.

“For any ambitious politician in any party, he or she would need strong grassroots support,” said Azmi.

Azmi also said that uphill challenges would lie ahead for Khairy if he decides to join another party.

“He (Khairy) will be considered an outsider, and he will be viewed as a competitor to existing members who have the same ambitions.

“Whether Khairy stays in Umno or joins another party, it won’t change much for his (political) future,” Azmi added.

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