On the right track

Party mov­ing with the times to at­tract mil­len­ni­als and stay rel­e­vant, says Zahid

New Straits Times - - Front Page -

As Umno cel­e­brates its 71st birth­day with a mes­sage of sol­i­dar­ity and in­clu­siv­ity, vice-pres­i­dent Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi, who is car­ry­ing out du­ties of deputy pres­i­dent, says the party must move with the times to re­main rel­e­vant. It must also stay true to its roots.


UMNO must move with the times or else it will lose out. As such, the party must face reality that there should be re­ju­ve­na­tion among its lead­ers and its agenda must re­main rel­e­vant with the peo­ple.

Umno vice-pres­i­dent Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi said party mem­bers must re­alise that emo­tional or his­tor­i­cal at­tach­ments were no longer qual­i­ties that would at­tract the younger gen­er­a­tion to the party.

He said this was why the gov­ern­ment had put a lot of em­pha­sis on com­ing up with pro­grammes for the fu­ture of mil­len­ni­als, via the Na­tional Trans­for­ma­tion 2050 (TN50).

“Times have changed, and the method of com­mu­ni­ca­tion has evolved with tech­nol­ogy. If Umno holds an event, how many peo­ple can we in­ter­act with? Pos­si­bly be­tween 100,000 and 200,000 peo­ple through this type of face-to­face com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

“But if we were to send out our mes­sage on so­cial me­dia, we can reach be­tween one and two mil­lion users. If Umno doesn’t change with the times, we will col­lapse.”

Zahid, who is now car­ry­ing out the du­ties of deputy pres­i­dent, was speak­ing on TV3’s Soal Jawab pro­gramme in con­junc­tion with tonight’s Umno’s 71st an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion at the Bukit Jalil Na­tional Sta­dium here.

He said TN50, which would take place 33 years from now, must be im­ple­mented in phases with a bot­tom-up ap­proach. Or­gan­i­sa­tions must be open to to­day’s reality, in that the num­ber of Malaysians aged 30 and be­low had in­creased from nine to 12 per cent and those be­low the age of 40 stood at 20 per cent.

On whether he was sat­is­fied with the ef­forts and ini­tia­tives in place to at­tract young­sters, Zahid said he would not be pleased un­til Umno, to­gether with Barisan Na­sional, wins by a two-third ma­jor­ity in the next gen­eral elec­tion, adding that it was all about “po­lit­i­cal re­turn on in­vest­ment”.

He stressed that although the Umno con­sti­tu­tion’s main thrusts were Is­lam and Malay, the party had not side­lined other reli­gions and eth­nic­i­ties.

The sta­tus of Is­lam as the re­li­gion of the fed­er­a­tion, the po­si­tion of the Malay rulers and Malay as the of­fi­cial lan­guage needed to be cham­pi­oned, he added.

“These rights are not merely a so­cial con­tract, but they are in the high­est rule of law. This was even high­lighted in an assem­bly of an Is­lamic party re­cently. We can­not com­pro­mise on this.”

Zahid, who is also deputy prime min­is­ter, said the coun­try’s so­cial struc­ture had been trans­formed into a di­a­mond shape from its previous pyra­mid shape, por­tray­ing a larger ra­tio of mid­dle-in­come earn­ers in Malaysia.

While ad­mit­ting that not all gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives were openly ac­cepted by the pub­lic, he be­lieved that Umno was on the right path in pro­vid­ing a har­mo­nious and com­fort­able coun­try for the ma­jor­ity to live in.

“Even in mar­ket­ing, there will al­ways be 12 per cent of peo­ple who will not ac­cept new prod­ucts of an es­tab­lish­ment. If we lis­ten to the mi­nor­ity and for­get about the silent ma­jor­ity, we will fall off track in our strug­gles.

“Umno is on the right track. I am cer­tain of this as I al­most slipped on a ba­nana peel once. Even with chal­lenges, the truth will pre­vail.”

Zahid said the party’s suc­cess could not be achieved with­out the con­tri­bu­tions of its vet­eran mem­bers, adding that they should be al­lowed to give ad­vice to Umno.

“New mem­bers must re­spect the old mem­bers, un­less they (vet­er­ans) al­low them­selves to be walked over. So, do pro­tect your good name.”

In con­junc­tion with tonight’s cel­e­bra­tion, Zahid called on the pub­lic to paint the Bukit Jalil Na­tional Sta­dium red to show their sup­port for the party.


Umno vice-pres­i­dent Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi on TV3’s ‘Soal Jawab’ at Sri Pen­tas in Ban­dar Utama.

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