JOHOR BARU, Aug 10 — Umno is in urgent need of change to attract the younger generation, or it risks irrelevance in the next decade, said Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.
The Johor Umno deputy chief warned that Umno will “die” in the hearts of the young within 10 years if it does not recognise this.
“Umno must start changing and rejuvenating now to win the support of young voters.
“For the 15th general election (GE15), more than four million new voters aged 18 and above will be automatically registered.
“They will become the new dominant voice for GE16 and future elections,” said Nur Jazlan in a Facebook posting today.
Nur Jazlan suggested that a balanced selection of old and young faces would be ideal for the coming polls.
He said existing Umno representatives who have been in office for 20 to 30 years should make way for younger leaders and become mentors instead.
“I believe people are bored with the same old faces where they want new candidates who are young and can do the job more efficiently,” said Nur Jazlan, who is also the Pulai Umno division chief.
However, Nur Jazlan pointed out that it does not mean that the party should remove these senior leaders.
“They can act as a mentor to young members. Their experience in previous elections and in the political arena can guide the younger candidates.
“Umno should find a balance between fielding fresh faces and experienced candidates as this formula had led to Barisan Nasional’s (BN) landslide victory in the recent Johor state election,” he said.
The outspoken Umno leader said If the Malay nationalist party wanted to win over young and new voters, it needed to implement change from various aspects.
He added that it could involve a change of mind, in approach, leadership or candidates for the coming general election.
“Do we just want to see other parties such as DAP and PKR influence these young people, while Umno does not commit itself?” he asked.
Nur Jazlan, who is known for his progressive approach, said the reality was that Umno, along with PAS and Amanah, were led by many old faces which might not be beneficial to the parties.
He said Umno should look at how PKR had accepted youths to be leaders at the top level, with younger leaders elected as deputy president and four vice-presidents.
“That is the kind of rejuvenation Umno should undergo for the current political climate.
“Do we want our youths to be influenced by the likes of DAP, PKR, and Muda?
“Don’t tell me Umno wants to be like Pejuang, which is run by those from the Jurassic period?” questioned Nur Jazlan in reference to the rival Malay-based Parti Pejuang Tanah Air that is led by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Nur Jazlan stressed that in order for Umno to be relevant in future is for the party to appeal and be accepted by youths.
“For that, it must change,” he said.