Khairy criticises Zahid’s failure to address economic recovery, healthcare in speech

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Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin has criticised the Umno president’s speech at the general assembly for ignoring certain pertinent issues concerning the country.

Khairy touched on Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s speech when asked to comment on the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the government and the opposition in an interview with Astro Awani today.

“From the perspective of Umno ministers, the consideration (to extend the MoU) is about the ongoing national recovery.

“Maybe what was a bit lacking in the (president’s) speech this morning was that he didn’t touch on the ongoing recovery, the transition to the endemic phase, as well as economic recovery,” he said.

Earlier, Zahid claimed that Pakatan Harapan was out to “kill” the party with the MoU it signed with the Barisan Nasional-led government.

The Rembau MP also pointed out that Zahid had not mentioned any public health issues in his speech.

“The pandemic has exposed gaps in our healthcare system. That’s why I proposed a White Paper to Parliament to increase the investment for public health, not only because of the pandemic but for non-infectious diseases and our aging society,” he said.

On education, Khairy stressed that Umno had to offer a programme for the “lost generation” of schoolchildren whose studies were affected for two years due to the pandemic.

Additionally, if Umno is given the mandate in the next general election, Khairy said the party should think about how to replenish the Employees Provident Fund.

Without solutions to these issues, Khairy said it was “premature” for Umno to say it was time to return the mandate to the people.

“Just because of our (impressive) results in the recent state elections (in Melaka and Johor), I don’t want us in Umno to think we are great and know it all.

“This is like going back to becoming arrogant. We have to sit together to discuss issues and the crises faced by the people now,” Khairy said.

Khairy also advised the party to rethink deputy president Mohamad Hasan’s statement to call for the polls “and to strike while the iron is hot”.

“Of course the iron is hot now, but based on what kind of contest? A contest where a large group of people didn’t come home to vote?

“It’s not that I’m saying no to GE15, but in terms of our confidence, it’s a bit premature,” he said, referring to the recent Johor polls which only had a voter turnout of 55%. – FMT