JOHOR BARU, Sept 1 — Breaking from tradition, Johor Umno Youth said it will take a more inclusive approach for the 15th general election (GE15) and not insist that more young candidates be fielded.
The movement’s Johor chief Mohd Hairi Mad Shah said this was because the situation in the state is unique, requiring a balance between candidates from Umno’s wings and divisions that will reflect a diversity in age and gender.
He said this approach was needed to ensure a big victory for Barisan Nasional (BN).
“Basically, I would like as many young people as possible to be named as candidates, but I am also aware of the unique requirements based on the demographics in Johor.
“As a Umno member and youth leader, we need to take into account of the Wanita and Puteri wings as well as seasoned members in the divisions,” said Mohd Hairi after attending a Social Security Organisation (Perkeso) programme at Taman Saujana here today.
Also present was Johor Perkeso director Tong Sing Chuang.
Mohd Hairi said the state’s Umno Youth movement will leave the decision of GE15 candidates to Johor Umno liaison chief Datuk Seri Hasni Mohammad, who is also the state BN chief.
“We believe Datuk Seri Hasni will make the best decision for all.
“At the same time, any prospective candidates who fit the WALI (winnable, acceptable and likeable) criteria will have the opportunity to contest regardless of whether they are new or old faces,” he said on Umno and BN’s candidate criteria that was successfully used in the Melaka as well as Johor state elections.
Mohd Hairi, who is also the Johor Baru Umno division youth chief, said he was satisfied with the Johor state election earlier this year where Umno gave the opportunity to 11 young candidates to contest from the 14 candidates proposed by his movement.
The Larkin assemblyman and state exco said that the success of youth candidates in the state election can be used as a benchmark for Umno’s capability.
Mohd Hairi also added that the prospective GE15 candidate names from Johor Umno Youth would be submitted to the party’s leadership by this month.
“We at Umno Youth, together with the youth wings of the respective BN component parties, are already prepared to face GE15, which could be called at any time," he said.