Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin received rare support from government backbenchers in Parliament today. It is not important whether the support was sincere or just plain shadow play or wayang kulit in Malay.
According to Bernama, the national news agency, the House of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat) saw heated debate when several backbenchers voiced their displeasure over what they felt were uncalled for remarks made by opposition leader Lim Kit Siang in the house last Monday against Khairy.
It is normal, I may add, of Umno politicians to "pretend" to support Khairy "openly" but behind the shadow play screen, they would criticice and condemned the poor lad. But in the act of political survival, they would support and acted as good friends of Khairy. Some even invited Khairy to officiate their official functions although he is a nobody in the government administration. This is the reality of Umno politics.
In the Dewan Rakyat, one Umno politician claimed that Kit Siang had accused Khairy of being a mastermind and the like, but Kit Siang denied the accusation saying that he had only referred to a recent article by the Umno Youth vice-head in the New Straits Times newspaper.
"I did not mention that he is a mastermind. I just said stop the gravy train. He had talked about a "leakage" of 10 per cent. If the government is going to spend RM220 billion on development under the 9MP (9th Malaysia Plan), the 10 per cent will amount to RM22 billion. But the "leakage" is actually 30 per cent," Kit Siang said.
Meanwhile, Khairy is said to be eyeing the vice-presidency (VP) of Umno (United Malays National Organisation), the political party headed by Abdullah. The vice-presidency is a stepping stone for aspiring Malay politicians to be the leader of Umno and eventually the prime ministership, if the Barisan Nasional coalition-government is still enjoying popular support. At present there are only two elected VPs, federal cabinet minsiter Muhyiddin Yassin from Johor and Ali Rustam, the chief minister of Melaka state. The other VP Isa Samad was forced to resign after he was found guilty of engaging in money politics (political corruption) by the party's disciplinary board. Both Isa and Khairy are from Negri Sembilan state.
Do not be surprised to note that Umno politicians will come out with statements supporting Khairy to contest the vice-presidency of Umno. The support is nothing more than acts of political survival - another round of shadow play and the Tok Dalang or puppeteer is Khairy himself.