KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Umno Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said there was nothing wrong with his predecessor Khairy Jamaluddin being vocal with his opinions as long as he does not breach the discipline of the party.
Asyraf said although Khairy’s words and actions may have seen him falling out of favour with Umno leadership, this should be a non-issue in the age of new politics.
“In the era of new politics, we respect differences of opinion and we are free to speak our mind on issues as long as it does not cross the line.
“This applies not only to KJ (Khairy) but also any other member who wants to express his opinion. We can’t stop them. We should respect his opinion,” he said.
“We have to learn how to celebrate differences and agree to disagree. This is the culture of new politics that we have to accept.”
When asked if Khairy’s defiance towards the party leadership is affecting the youth’s support for Umno, he said it is normal that every member has his preferences about who he wishes to support.
“But I don’t think the party is divided because of this or him,” he said.
Khairy has in the past openly criticised the party leadership, with the most recent example being when he questioned some members’ donation drive for embattled former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
On Monday, Opposition MPs from Umno and PAS walked out of the Dewan Rakyat after Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof was sworn in as the Speaker for the 14th Parliament but Khairy stayed put, saying later that he wanted to be an exemplary Opposition MP and to show respect to the swearing-in process.
His decision was heavily criticised by the party leadership but Khairy insisted that he remains loyal to Umno.