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Khairy’s win protested, Shahrizat creates upset

KUALA LUMPUR, 25 March 2009: Umno Youth is poised to enter a period of controversy with Khairy Jamaluddin’s win as the movement’s chief tonight.

The Rembau Member of Parliament (MP) and son-in-law of outgoing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi polled 304 votes. He beat his rivals former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo who obtained 254 votes, and early favourite and Jerlun MP Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, who garnered 232 votes.

As soon as the results were announced at 11:30pm, a crowd of Khir and Mukhriz supporters outside the hall began shouting “KJ rasuah!” and “KJ penipu!”, in reference to Khairy, 33, being slapped with a warning on 17 March by the Umno disciplinary board, which found him guilty of money politics.

Angry Mukhriz and Khir supporters continued shouting outside the hall where Khairy was giving his acceptance speech and wrapping up proceedings of the Umno Youth general assembly.

Rival supporters had a minor scuffle and police were called in to form a human chain to separate them.

Khairy’s deputy is Muar MP Datuk Razali Ibrahim, 39. He polled 417 votes in a straight fight against Datuk Reezal Merican Naina Merican, who is the president of the Federation of Malay Students of Peninsular Malaysia (GPMS) and political secretary to the prime minister.

Khairy was previously the Umno deputy youth chief, a post which he won uncontested.

In contrast, the announcement of the new Umno Wanita chief was one of hugs and joyful tears. Former Umno Wanita deputy chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil trounced her boss Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz in a landslide victory with 507 votes against 280. Shahrizat’s convincing victory ended Rafidah’s 22-year leadership of the wing (with a break of one term in between).

Rafidah, 66, the former international trade and industry minister, was conspicuously absent when the announcement was made.

Shahrizat, 56, was mobbed by ecstatic Wanita delegates until the red selendang covering her hair fell off. She shed tears as one delegate after another gave her congratulatory hugs.

In an Academy Awards-style acceptance speech, Shahrizat thanked everyone, beginning with her predecessor, and then the delegates, the party leadership, her staff, the media, her husband and children, and even the husbands of the Wanita delegates for supporting their wives in politics.

In magnanimity for Rafidah, who was hurt by Shahrizat’s challenge at the outset of the race, Shahrizat said, “My win is a win for Rafidah, too. There will still be a place for her to contribute in Wanita.”

The Wanita deputy chief post was won uncontested by Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim, who was seen to be aligned to Shahrizat.

The new Puteri chief is Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin, who beat five other candidates with 245 votes. Her deputy is Shahanim Mohd Yusoff, who beat four other contenders.

A total of 791 Youth, 796 Wanita and 789 Puteri delegates cast their ballots from 11am to 1pm today.

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