Son-in-law says he did not cause Badawi’s exit

October 10th, 2008 - 1:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 10 (IANS) Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s son-in-law says he is not to blame for the premature exit of his father-in-law. Badawai is slated to leave office next March.Instead, Khairy Jamaluddin, 32, blames the “constant and concerted demonisation” by those who accused him of interfering with the working of the government.

Jamaluddin, who is the deputy chief of UMNO Youth, the youth wing of the ruling United Malaysian National Organisation (UMNO), said this ‘demonisation’ of the entire leadership “took on a very personal tone. It was directed at a few individuals”.

“A lot of it was negative perception building. I think it was a deliberate strategy to undermine the leadership,” he said when met by reporters at the launch of the Institute for Advanced Islamic Studies.

Over the years, there have been criticism and scathing attacks against Khairy by a number of people, including former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.

They alleged that the prime minister was allowing his 32-year-old son-in-law to interfere in the running of the government, which both Badawi and Khairy have denied.

Jamaluddin is married to Badawi’s daughter from his first wife late Endon Mahmood.

The prime minister married Endon’s cousin Jean last year.

He announced Wednesday that he would step down from UMNO’s leadership, and the prime ministership, next March, naming Deputy Prime Minister Najib Raqzak as his successor.

Khairy said Abdullah’s decision to leave office in March should be recognised as “a sacrifice for party unity”, The Star newspaper said Friday.

Badawi had been under pressure since he opted for early polls in March, but the gamble did not work and his alliance lost the traditional two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time.

“The reason we did not do well in the last election was not because of the leadership but because we did not fulfil the promises of 2004,” he said.

Khairy said UMNO should not be under any misplaced illusion that it was a leadership issue.

Khairy, who is aspiring for the youth chief post in the March party elections, said he hoped his father-in-law’s leaving office would not affect his chances in the contest.

Badawi, in an apparent response to Mahathir’s demand that he step down immediately and not wait for March, said he had no such plans.

Meanwhile, Razak formally agreed to contest the UMNO leadership Thursday, triggering a race for the deputy chief’s job.

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