Jan 2, 2006

Khairy Jamaluddin

Khairy Jamaluddin (born January 10, 1976) is a Malaysian politician. He is the son-in-law of Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Khairy's political and financial influence has been described as substantial, with some calling him a future Prime Minister by virtue of his connections. He is married to Nori Abdullah, and is the Deputy Chief of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Youth wing, a post he won unchallenged in the 2004 UMNO Annual General Meeting with influence of his father-in-law.


Khairy was born in Kuwait City, Kuwait. He is the only son of former diplomat Dato' Jamaluddin Abu Bakar and Dato' Rahmah Abdul Hamid.

Khairy had his secondary education at the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore, and his university education at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. While at Oxford, he studied at St Hugh's College, and graduated with a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE).


Debate challenge to an opposition leader

In September 2005, Khairy challenged Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang to a debate in Parliament. However, Lim told him not to ask any Member of Parliament (MP) to debate unless he himself became an MP. Khairy later argued that he had meant to ask Lim to debate the matter in Parliament, and did not challenge him to a debate.

ECM Libra

Around late 2005, he was involved in controversial merger between ECM Libra Capital Bhd and government-linked Avenue Capital Resources Bhd, which resulted in the creation of ECM Libra Avenue Bhd. In December 2005, he was granted a loan by some of the shareholders of ECM Libra Avenue Bhd. to purchase one percent of the firm's share at 71 sen per share. A public audit committee chaired by parliamentarian Shahrir Abdul Samad was later set up to investigate allegation of wrongdoing done during the merger. The committee on August 10 concluded that the merger was done according to procedure. On August 11, Shahrir Abdul Samad said "In principle, this can be a conflict of interest. In this case, maybe, it is a question of approval from the minister because it was probably not referred to the Cabinet." On August 12 2006, Khairy Jamaluddin sold his entire holding of the company at 65 sen per share.

Allegations of nepotism

In 2006, Prime Minister Abdullah and Khairy both came under heavy criticism from former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who alleged among other things that Khairy was controlling Prime Minister Abdullah's agenda from behind the scenes. Both Khairy and Prime Minister Abdullah strenuously denied this.

Khairy described himself as "a pretty easy scapegoat," but insisted that "the decisions Dr. Mahathir is unhappy with are entirely made by the Prime Minister and the cabinet."

Khairy, who once said he wanted to be Prime Minister before turning 40, had previously served as a special assistant to Abdullah. He insisted that he has no influence on Abdullah's policies, stating: "I draw a line personal, private, professional and political line with the Prime Minister."

Alleged affair with actress Maya Karin

In August 2006, it was alleged in the media that Khairy had taken the popular Malaysian actress Maya Karin as his second wife. Both Khairy and Maya denied this.

Racial discrimination

Within a very short period, Khairy created further controversies by claiming that the Chinese Communities in Malaysia will take advantage of the Malays if UMNO is weak. This has created anger and outburst not only amongst the Barisan Nasional component party such as MCA and Gerakan, but also amongst senior members of UMNO. In Penang, the Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon was made a bogeyman for the low income of the tsunami-prone Malay villagers in Balik Pulau.

Even though the Prime Minister has defended Khairy by saying that the media has misquoted him, Khairy refused to apologize and admitted that his remarks are genuine and important to defend Islam and the Malay rights. This has led Jeff Ooi and Oon Yeoh, two prominent Bloggers in Malaysia to label Khairy as the new Malay-Ultra.

While there were strong reaction to his remarks, many political analysts such as Raja Petra Kamarudin believed that Khairy is trying to distract the public attention from the ECM-Libra scandal where he is alleged to siphon up to 9.2 million via his proxies. Lim Keng Yaik, the former President of Gerakan called Khairy, a low standard politician who is in rush to climb the politicial ladder. Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, attributed the current controversy as a strategy by UMNO to create a state of fear amongst the Malays so they will continue to support UMNO even though corruption is rampant during Abdullah Badawi's administration.

Support of illegal racing

Another controversy that creates stir among the Malaysians, is the unsuccessful attempt by Khairy Kamaluddin and Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim to rebrand "Mat Rempits" as "Mat Cemerlang." Mat Rempit is a derogatory term used to refer to Malay youths who have the aims of winning legal drugs, prostitutes and cash in illegal racings using illegaly modified motorcycles. Some analysts believe that the UMNO Youth is cashing on the large numbers of Mat Rempits in Malaysia as preparation for the upcoming elections. The suggestion by Khairy that Mat Rempits become the Eyes and Ears for the Police Force have sparks anger by former victims of Mat Rempits, who previously had their vehicles smashed by Mat Rempits.

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