KUALA LUMPUR — Newly elected UMNO Youth Chief Khairy Jamaludin today defended his decision to wear a tiara and a sash when celebrating his win over Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir and Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo yesterday.
Denying that wearing the RM250,000 diamond-encrusted tiara and silk sash with the words ‘Da Chief’ embroided on it was an act of gloating, Khairy said that it was usual practice for winners in contests to be crowned and celebrated that way.
“What’s wrong with wearing a tiara?” said Khairy nonchalantly as he smelled the bouquet of lilies and roses he got along with the tiara and sash the day before. “They do it in all the pageants, and nobody makes a big deal about it. I don’t see the runners up getting all upset.
“My supporters thought that it was proper to celebrate this way, so I said go ahead. What, I can’t celebrate my victory now?” he added, sarcastically.
The platinum and white gold tiara, designed by jeweller Selberan, was fitted with top-of-line diamonds especially for this occasion. Upon getting the results of the voting process earlier, in which he obtained 304 out of 793 votes, Khairy leapt over the stage barrier at Merdeka Hall in PWTC, let his supporters put on the tiara and sash and was hoisted regally as he wiped beads of tear trickling down his cheeks.
Khairy said that he didn’t think his act was over-the-top, and was not intentionally making anyone feel bad.
“Look, I was only showing how happy I was, and I wasn’t exactly being indecent or anything. Again, beauty queens get to do it, how come I couldn’t? Besides, it’s not like I was wearing an evening gown to go with the tiara and sash. And whoever said tiaras are only for ladies? I look good in it.
“My team and I have worked so hard to get where we are today. I see no fault in showing a little bit of happiness. So killjoy la these people,” said Khairy. “I don’t care. If people want to be so hypersensitive and get upset over a little display of joy, then go ahead. I can’t please everyone.”
Runner up Datuk Seri Mohd Khir didn’t think it was appropriate for the new Youth wing leader to don a quarter-million ringgit tiara to celebrate, especially in these bad economic times.
“It’s obscene, I think,” said Dr Khir. “I could never be so arrogant and insensitive as to display such opulence while the rakyat are losing jobs and getting hit with rising cost of living.
“I’ve always believed in humility and moderation. I’m anti-excess and corruption-free. My record speakes for itself,” he said, in an apparent reference to his name being cleared of any money politics by the UMNO Disciplinary Council, while Khairy was found guilty and subsequentially let off with a warning.
In response, Khairy said, “The Javanese dentist is just jealous I got to wear such a pretty tiara, that’s all. Such childish attitude. He’s always been envious of my obviously superior looks. And now he misses out on this crown. Boo-hoo.
“Well, he can go home and eat more tempe (soy-based food Khir once claimed was the source of his youthful appearance and smooth skin) if it’ll make him feel better and look better. Frankly, I kind of doubt it.”
Datuk Mukhriz, when contacted, declined to comment on Khairy’s choice of celebration attire and accessories, saying only, “Well, it’s nice.”