Jul 23, 2006

Pak Lah: Khairy not my adviser

(The Star) PUTRAJAYA: The Prime Minister broke his silence yesterday on what observers regard as a politically sensitive issue – the role of Khairy Jamaluddin in the administration of the Government.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said his 30-year-old son-in-law was not his adviser.

He said that while Khairy, like other parties, had expressed his views on various matters, he, as Prime Minister, had the sole responsibility of deciding what was best for the people.

“My son-in-law is not an adviser. He used to work with me. As my subordinate, obviously he was involved in preparing analyses and giving his opinion on many things,” he said after chairing the 100th meeting of Mentris Besar and Chief Ministers at the Prime Minister’s Office here yesterday.

“He quit because he was aware that many people were complaining. He is no longer involved. Why are people making accusations?”

Khairy, who is Umno Youth deputy chief, has been the subject of criticism following allegations that his relationship to Abdullah enabled him to influence the Prime Minister.

He was special officer to Abdullah, who was then Deputy Prime Minister, for four years. When Abdullah became Prime Minister, Khairy was his deputy principal private secretary II until May 2004.

Abdullah said he would ask for Khairy’s opinions and views on some matters in his capacity as the number two in the Youth movement.

“That is all. Everybody talks to me. Everybody wants to advise the Prime Minister,” he said.

“No prime minister is free from efforts to influence him, including from those who want contracts.”

However, Abdullah stressed, he made his own decisions based on what he thought was best for the people and the country.

“And those decisions are mine, no matter what.”

He noted that any decision made would not have the approval of everybody.

“As long as the majority accept that I am working for the country, it is a good yardstick.”

The Prime Minister said that while he was saddened by the talk, he did not allow this to affect his work.

“I hear all sorts of things. I have feelings, too, and I am unhappy, but I am able to control myself,” he said.

“My work and my conscience are clear. I don’t make decisions to seize other people’s belongings or cause trouble to others. I make decisions which I think are fair.”

Abdullah said Cabinet ministers also made decisions based on their respective portfolios, and they should not shirk their responsibilities.

Those who wash their hands of their responsibilities and leave all the decisions to the Prime Minister should not hold ministerial positions, he said.

Similarly, he said, as the Prime Minister, he would not simply give the task of making decisions to others.

“Then what is the point of me being the Prime Minister? I want to serve to the best of my ability,” he added.

Abdullah said it was also coincidental that other people shared his thoughts.

“Not one, but four, five, 10, 20 others,” he said.

“When the people are comfortable with what I am doing, that means the rakyat know that what I am doing is meeting their needs.”

No comments: