KUALA LUMPUR – Umno should transform itself and start championing issues confronting the people if it wants to remain relevant in the nation’s political arena, a party leader said, adding that it should refrain from being overly nostalgic about the party’s past achievements.
Federal Territory Umno Liaison Committee Secretary Datuk Seri Syed Ali Alhabshee said Umno should also step up efforts to secure the support of urban voters, considering that it was reduced to almost being non-relevant in theÂ urban areas at the 13th general election. The party, however, saw an uptick in voter support in the rural areas in theÂ last election.
He said in order to earn the support of the people, particularly that of the Malays, the party should be continuously heedful of their interests.
“The support of the Malays, especially those living in the urban areas, for Umno has been eroding, mainly because they were not convinced about the party’s stand on various current issues. Perhaps in the urban areas, voters had been deeply influenced by the issues of corruption and graft that were sensationalised by the opposition and which Umno had failed to address effectively.
“This only means that we have to be aggresive… and be more open towards enlisting more professionals as partyÂ members. This is the only way Umno can rejuvenate itself and be accepted again by the people,” he told Bernama, hereÂ today.
Syed Ali was commenting on Umno President Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s call last Saturday to Selangor Umno to step forward boldly with a new strategy and mindset if it wanted to recapture Selangor.
The prime minister underscored three realities that Selangor Umno had to accept, namely the party’s position as the opposition in Selangor, the state’s strategic socio-economic status and the fact that it has to work hard to attract the urban and suburban voters.
Syed Ali, who is also Cheras Umno head, said there was nothing wrong in making references to Umno and Barisan Nasional’s past achievements if they are aimed at motivating the leaders to work harder to ensure the party’s success.
“If you keep on talking to the people about the contributions of past leaders, for example former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, then we should ask ourselves what contributions we have made to the people.
“I’m not looking down on Umno, but I want Umno to be the pulse of the Malays. In politics there are two types of people, those who want to serve the rakyat sincerely and those who merely want to earn a living. Let’s see where we stand,” he stressed.
Syed Ali added that the party should use the Umno General Assembly, to be held from Nov 25 to 29, as a platform to regain the confidence of the rakyat and the party members, and at the same time strengthen its commitment to secure the support of the rakyat. – BERNAMA