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Monday, September 30, 2013

Wanted: Pilot for rudderless Puteri Umno wing, immediate vacancy

It is the only part of Umno that faces an even contest for its leadership next month with two strong but very different contenders. But the women’s youth wing of Umno – Puteri Umno – is finding itself still missing that certain oomph.
It is going to get a leader, but where is the leadership, ask analysts.
"Puteri Umno lost its focus after Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said left the wing. She was feisty and vocal. During her time, people really got to see the role and feel the presence of Puteri Umno. The wing needs someone who has that criteria to remain relevant,” said a senior lecturer at Universiti Malaya (UM)'s anthropology and social sciences faculty, Noor Sulastry Yurni Ahmad.
Political analyst Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani, from Universiti Utara Malaysia, agreed that Puteri needs an “icon” as its leader.
“They need to be given a bigger role, within and outside the party. Even outside the party, they are compared with the likes of young leaders within the opposition, who are seen to be more appealing and outstanding,” he said.
Prof Datuk Paduka Mohamad Abu Bakar from UM said Puteri has to start stealing the limelight from Wanita. "They need to reinforce themselves,” he said.
This was a point also made by Noor Sulastry, who argued that Puteri Umno should stand on its own feet instead of being a follower of Wanita to stay relevant.
“Its existence lies in the hands of its leader who will be appointed in next month's party election,” she said.
The contest for the top post of Puteri Umno will be between Masjid Tanah member of parliament Mas Ermieyati Samsudin and Jamilah Hanim Othman, the PJ Selatan Puteri head.
Mas Ermieyati, a lawyer by training, is seen as the most suitable candidate for the job while Jamilah, who has strong connections with the grassroots, is also seen as a viable candidate for her image and character.
Members of the wing told The Malaysian Insider that both women stood a 50-50 chance of winning.
“The public may know Ermieyati better because she is a member of parliament but Jamilah is well known among the grassroots.
"It will come down to who can put her heart and soul into improving the state of Puteri and bring back its shine," said one member.
On October 12, about 48,000 Puteri Umno members will select their new leaders at the central and divisional levels.
From that number, 11,793 Puteri Umno delegates will cast their votes a week later to determine the wing's top leadership.
Puteri Umno’s deputy chief post is a three-way fight between Kulim Bandar Baru Puteri division chief Datin Nor Sabrina Mohd Noor, Pandan division chief Zahida Zarikh Khan and Tawau division chief Nazliah Ali. 

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