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Tuesday, 20 January 2009


Images of the late Tan Chee Khoon, Dato' Asri Muda, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye and Ahmad Boestaman.

Tuesday January 20, 2009
Muhyiddin: Umno needs to regain ‘wow’ factor

MANAMA: Umno needs to regain the “wow” factor which used to make the public sit up, take notice and want to be part of the party, vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.

Commenting on the Kuala Terengganu by-election loss, Muhyiddin said although Barisan Nasional and Umno had brought development to the country, it appeared to be insufficient.

“The people want radical improvements after what happened in the last elections. We must be able to do something that will attract the public.”

Muhyiddin said change within Umno and Barisan had to happen as quickly as possible or they would lose in the next general election.

“Incoming Umno president Datuk Seri Najib (Tun Razak) will have to perform political surgery,” Muhyiddin told reporters on the sidelines of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s official visit to Bahrain.

Muhyiddin said there was a need to reinvent and not just rebrand.

“This will be a big exercise because Barisan is big. How to change?

“It is not just at the top and has to filter all the way down,’’ he said.

Muhyiddin said although analysis could be made about the local conditions which caused Barisan to be defeated in Kuala Terengganu, there was a need to look at the bigger picture.

“Now what is more important is what the voter thinks of us and not what we think about them. Their expectations have changed.

“The party cannot survive with temporary setbacks. The people will think Umno’s talk is just rhetoric and no action,” he said.

In Johor Baru, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said Umno should change its election campaigning tactics, focusing on society rather than on the party.

“One of the main challenges faced by the party now is that some of its members prioritised their positions in the party rather than their services to the people,’’ he said yesterday. (The Star Online, 20 January 09)

Well said, Tan Sri Muhyiddin and Dato' Shahril. What you have just said is long overdue. Almost every human being in the street is tired of the antique tactics used by UMNO leadership. Radical change is the option? Many people think otherwise. Not so much of the radical change but both Tan Sri and Dato' do not have to look far.

The need of the majority Malays is not complex, simple, unluxurious and unsnobbish. Just attend to their basic needs first before indulging in millions and billions. Give the rural Malays, for instance, their basics. Only by committing to such needs that they will be convinced of UMNO's relevancy. Then stick to the original struggle and not steering away from the Federal and Party's Constitutions, drafted by the pioneers.

Again, forget the talk about billions and millions. Just walk the talk. The present Malays are matured enough politically, economically and culturally.They are aware of the need for change. Many are not swayed anymore by party's tradition: "vote for the party not individuals."

And for top UMNO leaders, they need to realign themselves to this paradigm shift more seriously. Meet the people and follow the true and genuine political leaders adjust themselves to peoples' needs. The Malays may want to see caring political leaders like Tun Razak, Tun Ismail, Tan Chee Koon, Sri Lee Lam Thye,Cikgu Kahar or Hu Sepang.

Someone may ask, "How about Dato' Shahril A. Samad himself?" He seems okay, but he must not get carried away or have his image diluted by UMNO's present antiques. Most importantly UMNO leaders, be it at national level or state, must not only be clean but also seen to be clean. They will be judged by the Malays, especially and the people generally. So, let's behave to acquire the "wow" factor and avoid being out-voted later on.

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