In an exclusive interview with Channel News Asia, UMNO youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin acknowledged several mistakes that led to BN's first defeat in 61 years during GE14
When asked what the party could have done to avoid Barisan Nasional's (BN) loss on 9 May, Khairy told Channel NewsAsia that failing to speak the truth in order to protect former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is a mistake he will have to live with for the rest of his life.
"What happened was we became delusional; we got drunk on our own Kool-Aid and we got carried away," he said.
"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.
"Was there a signal? Yes, there were clear signals but we became oblivious to the signals," the former youth and sports minister admitted
"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 told Channel NewsAsia.
Khairy said that UMNO must take collective responsibility for BN's loss during GE14, and re-consider opening its membership to all Malaysians
He explained that, "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."
"We should seriously consider all options. What model do we want? United Malays National Organisation or United Malaysian National Organisation? What is our DNA, what is our raison d'être (purpose for existence)?" said Khairy, adding that "Everything is on the table."
Khairy said that BN must be ready to go against "two big beasts in the political world" - Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim
"Malaysians have chosen two giants to lead us; our challenge is to make sure we can play the role of checks and balances against the government," he told Channel NewsAsia.
"I am an ant against the two giants, and I have to make sure I can think quickly and move quickly in next the five years," he added.
On Saturday, Najib stepped down from his roles in BN and UMNO:
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