Quoted from The Star, 11 Mar 2008 - To a question on whether Barisan’s performance this time was hampered by son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin, Abdullah denied this, saying that Khairy “is not an influence in whatever I do.”
“He is not the one who says, 'Baba, please accept this. This one you must do.’ He does not do that,” he said.
Perhaps it may be true that he doesn't influence the father-in-law in the aspects of policy and business dealings. Even then, how will we ever know whether there is any truth in that statement?
Based on the evidence the people have, Khairi has business dealings in ECM Libra and Scomi to name a few. These companies have prospered in the recent years, either by way of market forces or perhaps on the sole basis that Khairi Jamaluddin is the son-in-law of the Prime Minister, who's to say the the indirect (or direct) influence of the Prime Minister didn't have something to do with it. Notwithstanding Khairi's rise in UMNO, being Deputy Youth Chief and now potentially an Minister in Parliament, certainly must have been due, at the very least - somewhat - to the matter that the Prime Minister is his father-in-law.
Further evidence such as the widely known personal agenda of Khairi Jamaluddin to become Prime Minister (seldom boasted by even sons and grandsons of former Prime Ministers) is certainly in line with his quick rise in the party. Perhaps he is as capable as some people think he is, or perhaps it's all but an illusion, formed on the basis that he has a fancy degree, has many companies, and whose father-in-law is the Prime Minister. I believe many have seen their fair share of people with fancy degrees, inherited wealth or influence and a smart mouth, with little else to offer the people but a lot of hot air.
But really, nobody is really looking at this matter from another perspective. Khairi's rise in power and in government is really due to his father-in-law's influence (not the other way around). The fact that he is part of the family is enough to deter many from challenging him, for he may and could be someone people may need to answer to some day - or be at his mercy. Therefore, politically speaking, it's not really a good idea to challenge him, either from matters of the state, party politics or even business, because if things continue as they are, Khairi has the potential to rise to a position high enough whereby he will eventually have some real influence of his own.
Think about it, during the Asean Summit in 2007, Khairi led a mob of 5000 Mat Rempit's to the KLCC Convention Centre and demanded to handover a memorandum to the US Secretary of State, and when denied the opportunity, he violently pushed his way through, fighting the police and even got as far as entering the building. There was not one scratch on him. He wasn't beaten or even jailed for breaking the law as there was no permit to hold a public gathering.
How is this possible? When Anwar Ibrahim was jailed in 1997, the police beat demonstrators for a lot less. When HINDRAF brought their women and children out to demonstrate peacefully for their rights, the police, as we understand it drew first blood with the first shot of tear gas and water cannons. Khairi went directly against the police and the law, and he was untouched.
Perhaps we should now refer to Khairi as "The Untouchable" now, after the mafia movie of the 80s.
So when the Prime Minister says that there is no influencing going on, we say it's a blatent LIE.
By virtue that Khairi is related to the Prime Minister, he shouldn't be holding any public office or even high posts in UMNO. He quickly becomes a liability to both UMNO and Prime Minister on the sole basis that he is a relative, he is rising fast and he's obviously what is referred to as a Malay Ultra with ambitions.
If Badawi were smart, he would not include Khairi in his cabinet and seek for him to step down from his UMNO post immediately. There is something called conflict of interest and that is what this is. It is usually never direct, but the mere fact that the PM condones the possibility of conflict of interest, is very dangerous for this can create a trend of certain powerful families leading the government.
Say what you like about our former PM Mahathir, but at least the man had the integrity and perhaps wisdom not to allow for any such accusation to befall him and his sons. Mukhriz Mahathir was not an MP until this election, and Mahathir had always deterred his children from taking public office for reasons that he is PM.
The integrity of UMNO and the PM is clearly at stake, it would be mighty foolish of Badawi not to recognise the danger of his son-in-law destabilising the party, the PM's position and potentially the country with his radicalism and ambition.
UMNO, it's time we clean our house. The public must believe that our intentions are sincere and that we will be effective, with effective people leading the party and country. Conflict of interest, will undermine the public view of UMNO.
Do the right thing... or get pushed out sooner or later - which will effectively be an even more tragic end with greater consequences. So let's see how responsible Badawi is going to be.