KUALA LUMPUR – December 6, 2019: Despite glowing positivity among Umno members at its ongoing annual general assembly, some have expressed concern over the image of the party.
Top most among their worries over the party’s image appeared to be the ongoing corruption trial of party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Those who spoke to The Mole said Zahid’s multiple-charges in court are being used by Pakatan Harapan to sour Umno’s increasing popularity following Barisan Nasional’s victories in the last few by-elections.
Ashraf Abdullah, 35 of Kota Raja, Selangor said Zahid’s case is a burden for the party despite the leader’s effort to do the right thing.
He added that Umno members should learn from the general election defeat last year that a leader is not as important the party’s struggles.
“The most important part is what we fight for as a party, not the leader. I believe that Umno has a bright future considering how the current government doesn’t have a good stronghold. The problem with our party now is its leadership as compared to our grassroots which is solid,” said Ashraf .
The second main worry concerning the party’s image among the delegates appeared to be the rumour of possible betrayal within Umno following reports that several Umno parliamentarian may assist Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in stopping PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from taking over his prime minister post.
While most do not believe in the rumour, some admitted that it was disturbing that a group of Umno parliamentarians had indeed recently met PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali at his official residence in Putrajaya.
“If they are planning to switch side like that, then we disagree completely with them. Our leaders should stick to the party, fight for the cause and not do things that might cause worries among our grassroots,” said Hazizah Abdullah, who is a delegate from Kelantan.
Another major image-related concern of the Umno delegates as identified based on interviews by The Mole is the failure of party leaders to address the needs of younger members.
“We lost the last general election (GE14) partly due to young voters voting against us, but today, some leaders do not even bother to come down on the ground and visit us to get our input,” said Norhayati Abdullah of Segambut.
Echoing Norhayati’s opinion was her friend Hazizah Mohamad, who said that even if Umno leaders’ attitude towards youths appeared to be better after last year’s general election defeat, there are still room for improvement in attracting young voters to support the party.
“More focus should be given in social media in order to communicate our cause and this is what the older generation have to take note. Learn from our loss back in GE14,” she said.