KUALA LUMPUR: Umno members above the age of 40 will not be able to represent youths, said Malaysian Youth Council (Majlis Belia Malaysia) information chief Mohamad Rizan Hassan today.
He said this age factor was important when electing a new Umno Youth chief.
“Although they are our friends, it is time that we spoke up. The new leader for Umno Youth should be aged below 40.
“For those who are 45 or 48 … we don’t think they should contest any more for the Umno Youth posts.
“I don’t feel they can represent the voice of the youths. To lead the youths, they must be able to gain the youths’ confidence and trust.”
Rizan said the current leaders must give way to the younger ones.
“There is a global change in political atmosphere and our country’s leaders must accept that. We must acknowledge the strength of the people’s voice in determining the fate of the country.”
The council’s vice-president, Jufitri Joha, said a suitable candidate for Umno Youth chief would be Shahril Hamdan, who is now Umno Youth information chief.
Jufitri said Shahril was the one who had first “visualised” Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman as an example of a youth leader who could capture the imagination of youths.
“Five years ago, Umno was talking about bringing the youths forward, but they never managed or forgot to execute the plan.
“The image Umno has inherited is a party that is always fighting for positions.”
He said the time was right for youths to come forward to serve in the party as the results of the last general election had forced out former leaders.
He added that Umno needed to reconnect with the youths as it seems like the party has lost touch or neglected the youths.
“The current party branding isn’t attractive enough to draw youths. They need to go down to the ground.”
He said Umno had not lost its support, but needs to focus on new role models.
“He or she must be able to bring new ideas to the party and must not be too attached or reliant on the top leadership.”
When asked about the defunct TN50 (National Transformation) project, Jufitri said his council hoped the ideas generated previously could still be incorporated into proposals by the Pakatan Harapan government.
“The ideas are still valid. Maybe the branding (TN50) needs to be changed as it is politically affiliated to the former administration.”
The TN50 was an initiative led by former prime minister Najib Razak as a continuation of the Vision 2020 initiative by current PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad during his tenure as the country’s PM then.
Critics had claimed that TN50 was Najib’s way of taking a jibe at Mahathir, indicating that Vision 2020 had not achieved its goals.