The original NST’s article only put the title “GE13 Victory Is Conditional“, BUT, when you read the content, I think some of you will agree to the “new” title I put up there:
REACHING OUT: Umno must attract young and urban voters, says Muhyiddin
TAN Sri Muhyiddin Yassin reminded Umno leaders and members to take a closer look at the message presented by voters in the 13th General Election, saying the victory of the Barisan Nasional-led government was conditional.
“Despite the victory by Umno and BN in the last election, it was conditional. Umno increased its seats in Parliament but BN lost support, especially among young voters and those from urban areas,” the deputy Umno president and deputy prime minister said when opening the party’s Wanita, Youth and Puteri assemblies, which was attended by 2,976 delegates at the Putra World Trade Centre last night.
GE13 saw the party cede ground in Umno strongholds such as Johor and Malacca, he said.
“The party needs to be honest in understanding why young and urban voters are not supporting us as we had hoped for.
“Don’t they realise that we are trying to reach out to them? Could there be weaknesses that we need to improve on? What do we need to improve?
“On this stage, I pledge to Malays and Bumiputeras that Umno will continue defending all of you.
“The charms of Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil as Wanita chief, Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin’s oratory prowess and the hardworking Mas Ermieyati Samsudin (Puteri chief) will bring change for the better to the party.
“The key is to not look back, to not move alone and not hesitate or fear to stand on the frontline but to continue upholding the party’s struggles and create new optimism in Umno.”
Muhyiddin also touched on the government’s track record of uplifting the lot of Bumiputeras when it succeeded in reducing poverty in the community, from 64.8 per cent in 1970 to 2.2 per cent last year; and lowering hardcore poverty from 9.9 per cent to 0.3 per cent in the same period.
Through the government’s people-oriented programmes, it succeeded in raising per capita income from RM172 to RM4,457 and equity ownership from 2.4 per cent to 23.5 per cent in the same period.
On the Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Agenda, Muhyiddin said seven key initiatives needed to be implemented to complement the policy recently introduced by prime minister and party president, Datuk Seri Najib Razak:
CHIEF executive officers of government-linked companies to prepare comprehensive plans to help Bumiputera companies;
BUMIPUTERA youths to grab opportunities to take part in the many skills training programmes provided by the government;
GOVERNMENT to step up efforts to increase the number of Malay and Bumiputera professionals in many fields;
MALAY and Bumiputera traders and entrepreneurs to enhance their competitiveness in facing market-friendly business surroundings;
HELPING Malays and Bumiputeras develop their assets, such as land and funds;
GOVERNMENT to continue efforts to improve the welfare and well-being of Malays and Bumiputeras, and;
INTRODUCING more income-generating programmes to tackle the high cost of living.
On lifelong Islamic education, Muhyiddin said the process could be enhanced through the setting up of community Islamic studies centres.
These centres would provide an opportunity for Muslims to receive in-depth religious instruction.
“Experts in Islamic studies can be placed at these centres to teach the various fields of Islamic knowledge such as tafsir, Quran, hadith, fekah, tauhid, mu’amalat, mantaq, balaghah and others.
“A certification programme could be offered to those interested to learn more about Islam, regardless of their age. The opportunity for Muslims to acquire religious knowledge should not stop at schools or universities, but it should be lifelong,” he said.
The Federal Government could work closely with state governments via state Islamic religious councils to make the initiatives a success.
“For a start, classes currently run by institusi-institusi pondok, maahad tahfiz and mosques should be upgraded to Islamic community colleges.”
These centres could complement the teachings of the religion, which was based on Sunnah Wal-Jamaah.
Muhyiddin said imparting the true teachings of Islam was vital to shield Muslims from negative influences, including a new form of colonisation.
“This (new form of) colonisation is forcing Muslims to accept values that are against Islam. On this stage, in front of all of you, I wish to give you Umno’s assurance that it will not compromise any attempts to threaten or weaken the faith of Muslims.”
He said Islam’s position as the federal religion as enshrined in the Federal Constitution had ensured a balance that protected Muslims, while defending the rights of non-Muslims.
He said even the position of the Malay language in the Constitution did not infringe on the rights of people of other races to learn their mother tongue.
“Some of the principles of balance enshrined in the Constitution are not in line with the Western idea of freedom. But we do not need to be apologetic because these principles are important to ensure that harmony is maintained among the races.”
Muhyiddin later paid tribute to each of the Umno wings by describing Wanita Umno as the party’s torchbearer and backbone.
He said Umno Youth and Puteri represented the next generation of leaders who would continue the party’s struggles.
“If Youth and Puteri remain strong in their struggles, thoughts, and faith, and uphold their Malay identity and values, I believe the torch of Umno’s struggles can continue and people will continue to have faith in Umno.”
He urged the Youth movement to get close to the younger generation at “campuses and villages”, while Wanita needed to continue its tradition of having strong-willed leaders and attract women professionals and religious experts into its fold. He said Puteri needed to woo young women, who now make up a huge demographic.
“They need to be aware that Umno, established six decades ago, is now faced with many new challenges. To continue to be relevant, Umno has to find a new approach. The hate Umno campaign must be promptly addressed.”
He said the three wings needed to provide a more outspoken, courageous and confident voice to ensure their presence was felt.
Yes, I know that in the line of speech, TS Muhyiddin addressed more than just to KJ as UMNO Youth Head. He also hinting DS Shahrizat and YB Mas Ermieyati.
However, when saying ‘young and urban’, I supposed more focus should be on Pemuda and Puteri. Taking into consideration that KJ is already on his second term as UMNO Youth Head, I supposed the burden and onus will be on him. After all, YB KJ also happens to be Youth and Sports Minister.
More title, more work YB. Can’t help it if we want the ‘glory’, the responsibility also comes in. Great power comes with great responsibilities.
Therefore, with all new exco lined up and geared up ( I think), along with the experience losing in urban areas during GE13 (where BN lose nearly in ALL state capital that categorized as ‘urban’), I hope YB KJ can prove his mettle in GE14… and not just with “Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin’s oratory prowess”.
Prove it by working it out and shown through results by ballot box.. not by blog ranks, twitter followers, FB likes. Show the result where it matters.
In a nutshell, ahead of UMNO Assembly, good luck in doing the transformation desired… the next question is HOW, as the WHAT actually has been identified.. only maybe to be ignored or just lip service?
Question on the street: Will the real Pemuda UMNO stand up? Or maintained as “Pemudi” who only dare to shout and show keris in UMNO assembly?