KUALA LUMPUR – May 21, 2018: More Umno grassroots members are speaking up following the disastrous performance in the May 9 general elections, with one suggesting that party elections be decided by secret ballot and another in favour of an independent party appointed to provide feedback from the ground.
Another sentiment concerns the position of the party higher-ups who these lower level members should be held accountable and should give way to the younger generation if Umno is to have a decent chance of doing better at the country’s next elections.
One member also talked about the almost complete silence by acting president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Umno’s way forward from here.
“If they can’t come to terms with the defeat, they should all be booted out. We need to have a new line-up, one that isn’t implicated with any allegation of corruption,” said Abdul Majid Ahmadiah of Kuala Ketil, Kedah.
Shahila Zahari of Kubu Gajah, Perak, echoed Majid’s view on the need for Umno to do away with the rotten apples at the top.
“At every annual assembly the higher-ups talked about the need for Umno to rejuvenate itself by allowing younger members to shine but almost everyone knew it was mere lip service.
“This is the best time to do a complete rejuvenation of Umno. I’m not saying that we should do a coup but all I’m asking is for the current leaders to give way for the younger ones to chart a new path for the party,” she said.
Umno is expected to hold its elections later this year and while delegates had, at last year’s assembly, agreed that the top two posts should not be contested, national Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin recently said otherwise.
Khairy’s position that all party posts should to allowed to be contested is the opposite of that adopted by forme Malacca chief minister Tan Sri Ali Rustam who said that Zahid should automatically be made president.
When this was mentioned to Zahudi Shaari of Tampin, he argued that Ali’s suggestion would only strengthen the claim that Umno was impervious to change.
“You do not re-enter a battle you had lost with the same commanders. Using the same variables would only produce the same results. I meant no disrespect to our leaders but maybe their time at the helm is up,” he said.
Zahudi also suggested that secret ballots be used during the party elections to check the influence of the warlords.
“If it’s a secret ballot people won’t know who voted for who, so that way candidates would not be brazen enough to use money politics,” he remarked.
Hazrin Abu Syafiq of Cukai, Terengganu, proposed that Umno should hire a neutral body to go to the ground to gauge public sentiments and provide feedback to the top.
“KJ (Khairy) himself said that we lost because the higher-ups were fed with rosy and downplayed half-truths, especially regarding the people’s dissatisfaction against Najib (former Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak),” said Hazrin.