PETALING JAYA: Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin says the party may consider opening its membership to all Malaysians regardless of race, following its disastrous outing in the May 9 election.
In an interview with Channel NewsAsia, he said it was time for Umno to “seriously consider all options”.
“What model do we want? United Malays National Organisation or United Malaysian National Organisation? What is our DNA, what is our raison d’être?
“These questions need to be asked; we should not be fixed in what model we take. Everything is on the table,” he told the Singapore-based news agency.
Until the 14th general election last week, all six prime ministers were from Umno.
However, then-opposition pact Pakatan Harapan swept to victory at the polls, demolishing the Umno-led Barisan Nasional’s (BN) uninterrupted hold on power since independence.
The results left BN in tatters, with ousted prime minister Najib Razak resigning as president of Umno and chairman of the coalition.
The idea of Umno being a multiracial entity was reportedly first mooted by the party’s founder, Onn Jaafar, in 1951.
Following the election results, academic Mustafa Ishak of the National Council of Professors suggested that Umno consider adopting this model, saying the party needed to do some “soul searching” on how to remain relevant.
He added that Umno’s loss at the polls should prompt it to recognise that perhaps the days of race-based political parties were over.
In the interview with Channel NewsAsia, Khairy said Umno had gotten “drunk on its own Kool-Aid”, adding that no one wanted to acknowledge that the party had a problem.
“We didn’t want to bell the cat.
“Was there a signal? Yes, there were clear signals but we became oblivious to the signals.
“This must not happen again. We must not ever allow our leaders in Umno to be detached from reality and not ask tough questions. If we continue with our feudal mindset of protecting the leader from the truth, Umno will go extinct.”