June 24, 2018.
A Youth’s Take – A column by Zaidi Azmi
UMNO is set to get a new president this coming Saturday and while those vying for the post have pledged a bunch of measures to resuscitate the party, none however, has rolled out a clear blueprint on the fate of Barisan Nasional (BN).
Indeed, Umno needs to first dust off its own cobwebs before proceeding to do the same thing in BN but surely it is not a tall order for its presidential candidates to give an inkling on how they intend to salvage and steer BN for the next five years.
Even more so, given the fact that it is always Umno’s president who will lead BN into the polls and consequently spearhead the government should it win the elections.
Thus, it was disappointing that the three – of seven- likeliest candidates to win the number one post have yet to say anything definitive on BN because the more erudite Malaysians know that Umno cannot form an effective government on its own.
Where Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said nothing about BN’s future in a recent televised interview, his other contender, Khairy Jamaludin Abu Bakar said otherwise.
In the first part of his manifesto, Khairy pointed out that he will come out with a BN shadow cabinet before the coming July parliamentary sitting and that the opposition leader will be voted among BN members of parliament.
This however, was a rather contradictory stance for Khairy, as he –prior to announcing his candidacy– was among those who suggested that Umno may need to open its doors to non-Malays.
Also, how Khairy intends to fulfil his manifesto given the seemingly ongoing one-by-one departure of BN’s component parties which was reduced from 14 to 3 – following the latest exit of Gerakan yesterday– was something that he has yet to elaborate.
The most confusing take on BN’s future however, was probably that of Umno’s acting president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who in a recent interview implied that BN was here to stay.
“The Malays are receptive of BN. Our popular vote grew to 46 per cent as compared to the previous election. We lost because of our rival’s non-conventional approach,” said Zahid to Astro Awani’s Kamarul Baharin Haron.
What made his view on BN’s future puzzling was when he said the opposite the next day, saying that he envisioned the amalgamation of BN’s replacement because the coalition had been rejected by voters in the 14th general election.
Whether BN needs to be resuscitated or replaced is something that Umno must take charge because everyone knows that the party had played a pivotal role in the coalition’s victories and its unprecedented defeat.