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Khairy draws first blood - Malaysiakini report

Malaysiakini's report:

Umno deputy Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin today drew first blood winning the Machang nomination for the Youth chief post.

Khairy, the son-in-law of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, faces a tough fight against Mukhriz Mahathir, Dr Mohd Khir Toyo and Zahidi Zainul Abidin for the influential Youth post.

The post is currently held by Hishammuddin Hussein who is trying to land a senior post in the main party.

The Machang youth division had been tipped to nominate Mukhriz, the son of former premier Mahathir Mohamad.

While the early victory is a boost for the 33-year old Rembau MP, party watchers say the journey ahead is still a rocky one for Khairy, an Oxford graduate, especially after yesterday’s decision by his father-in-law to quit by March next year.

The 68-year old Abdullah had announced he would not be defending the Umno presidency, clearing the way for his deputy Najib Abdul Razak to move up the ladder.

Political observers say it would be tough for Najib to openly endorse Khairy as this might incur the wrath of Mahathir, who still wields substanial influence in the party.

“It is going to be very complex for Najib to manage the Khairy situation,” said political analyst Khoo Kay Peng. “While he is grateful to Abdullah for stepping down earlier and giving him the chance to contest the presidency, he has to consider the feelings of Mahathir who has also helped him.” -