KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 — Beaten Barisan Nasional Youth (BN) Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has admitted that coalition leaders lost power because they had become so confident of their invincibility.
The 42-year-old also admitted that facts signalling loss of public support had been presented, but said leaders were so detached from reality they swept aside all criticism and refused to accept them.
“What happened was we became delusional; we got drunk on our own Kool-Aid and we got carried away,” he said in an interview with Singapore broadcast network Channel News Asia.
“Was there a signal? Yes, there were clear signals but we became oblivious to the signals.
“This must not happen again, we must not ever allow our leaders in Umno to be detached from reality and not ask tough questions. If we continue with our feudal mindset of protecting the leader from the truth, Umno will go extinct,” he was quoted saying.
Khairy told the channel that he regretted not informing his then boss about the negative sentiments among the party's grassroot members, especially after Najib purged his then deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and ex-vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, for being critical of the handling of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
“We didn’t want to bell the cat. Nobody, after Muhyiddin was purged, after Shafie was purged Nobody wanted to acknowledge we have a problem. That was a terrible mistake on our part,” he added.
Khairy said that the disastrous loss was a collective responsibility among all in Umno, and that both Umno and BN must simply accept the fact that it was both systematically rejected by the masses.
Back in 2008, when BN lost their two-thirds majority, Khairy’s father-in-law and then-prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was replaced by Najib.
However, Khairy lamented that the party didn't revamp its operations.
“They thought that by changing the head, everything will sort itself out. We cannot make the same mistake again.
“It’s not just rejection of Najib, but also rejection of UMNO and BN; a systemic rejection of what we stand for. If we can accept that, then we can start to rebuild this party.” he added.
In the 14th GE which concluded on May 9, BN hit a record-low in its electoral performances by winning only just over one-third of the votes when it lost power for the first time ever in history, calculations showed.
Based on the Malay Mail team’s tally and calculations of the GE14 results, BN’s vote share of the 11,642,437 valid votes nationwide for parliamentary seats is only 36.42 per cent or just over 4.24 million votes.
Out of the 11.6 million votes, GE14 victor Pakatan Harapan (PH) garnered 47.33 per cent or over 5.51 million votes. Besides trouncing BN in the popular vote contest, PH also broke the former’s uninterrupted decades-long rule of the country either as BN or as its predecessor Alliance.