KUALA LUMPUR, 18 March 2009: Umno Youth should become the voice of the people if Barisan Nasional (BN) wants to regain the confidence of the people, said Umno Youth chief aspirant Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.
He said for the movement to remain relevant, it should no longer become the mouthpiece of the government.
“We have to champion the people’s rights and if we fail to do that, the people will turn against us. The leadership should accept the reality that Umno Youth should become the voice of the people,” he said in an interview with Bernama ahead of Umno elections next week.
Mohd Khir, 43, is facing two contenders in the race for the Umno Youth chief post — Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin, 33, and Youth executive committee member Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, 44.
On the changes he would introduce should he win the post, Mohd Khir, said he would carry out a political education programme and strengthen BN Youth.
“We are lacking in political education. This is the reason why some people joined the party merely to get projects and not driven by their commitment to protect the religion, the race and the country,” said the Pasir Panjang assemblyperson.
Mohd Khir, who is also Umno supreme council member, said Umno Youth should pressure the government to make changes in the administration and economic policies to ensure fairness to all races.
On why he joined the fray, he said, “We had lost the last general election because of the dwindling support from the younger generation.
“So the issue at hand in Umno is the younger generation. I am offering myself to revitalise the movement with the motto ‘Brave Youth’.”
He urged Youth delegates to think rationally and make the decision sincerely and honestly by considering the experience of the candidates.
“The elections this time around will determine Umno’s survival. If the leaders could not make quick decisions, we might lose the by-elections. Pick those who are ready to meet the grassroots,” he said. — Bernama