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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Call for rejuvenation threatens to split Umno, says Khairy

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin (right) says older leaders feel threatened by the call for the party to rejuvenate itself. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, November 29, 2014.Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin (right) says older leaders feel threatened by the call for the party to rejuvenate itself. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, November 29, 2014.
Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s call for the party to rejuvenate itself has been misunderstood by some leaders, many of whom are now viewing the youth with hostility, Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said at the Umno general assembly today.
He said that he feared the “overdue, noble proposal” needed to continue winning elections could be a “ticking time-bomb” that would weaken the party, as elder leaders now fear they would be replaced by the younger generation.
“I know the issue of rejuvenation has changed the relationship between the older leaders and the newer leaders. Umno Youth leaders are being viewed with suspicion by division chiefs.
He said that even a friend of his from Penang had said that if Umno Youth leaders were so keen on rejuvenation, they should just compete with the division chiefs.
“What began as a good proposal could destroy the party because of a different understanding of rejuvenation. For some youths, it means becoming candidates, getting positions.
“For some leaders, it means having their positions stolen from them, it means they are being challenged.”
Khairy said rejuvenation was not about allowing Umno’s young to take over the party, but about capturing the imagination of the country’s youth, adding that this should be done by everyone, regardless of age.
He said it meant championing issues that concerned the young, such as debts, homes and jobs, as well as engaging with them through platforms that they found popular, like social media.
“Just look at our president. His age is – forgive me – rather old. He is no longer young. Yet our president has millions of followers on Facebook. His policies are very friendly. He takes selfies just like how the youth do. That is rejuvenation,” said Khairy.
He reminded the Youth wing that they, too, needed to rejuvenate themselves and not focus on grabbing positions, but instead work their way up the ranks through hard work.
However, he warned delegates that the “chauvinist” party DAP was attracting supporters because they provided more opportunities for the young, and cited former Teluk Intan by-election candidate Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud.
“In DAP, a young woman was fielded as a candidate recently by the chauvinist party. People ask why that candidate was able to attract more young Malay women to join the chauvinist party,” said Khairy.
“Simple, it is because she was allowed to rise and given a chance. The youth like that, even though it is false hope. She’s not that great. Puteri Umno are better. But that candidate became a somebody from a nobody.”
He said that if Umno’s youth were given a chance like Dyana, they, too, would surpass DAP.
“This is not the hope of Umno Youth alone, but of people outside. If we don’t do this, the country’s young will find other alternatives. If we don’t do this, we will lose out on the wow factor.”
He called for solidarity among both the party’s young and old, saying that if they were to cooperate, they could show the country that the party was still relevant.
- TMI

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