(Updated 5:29pm, 26 March 2009)
KUALA LUMPUR, 26 March 2009: Several Umno leaders today supported the proposal made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to impose a maximum term for holders of party posts and wanted the proposal to be studied in detail.
Supreme council (MT) member Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said the proposal was in line with another proposal by Abdullah that the party’s election process be extended to the grassroots.
“I support the move to extend the votes, if possible one vote for each member to expand the votes and widen the members’ voice.
“In this way, the members are directly involved in the election process,” he said when commenting on the policy speech by Abdullah as Umno president at the Umno general assembly at the Merdeka Hall, Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), here.
The Prime Minister made the two suggestions to strengthen the party besides regaining the people’s support for the main component party of the Barisan Nasional (BN).
Meanwhile, Puteri Umno head Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin said the imposition of a maximum term for holders of party posts was interesting because Umno should give an opportunity to new leaders so that they could bring a new lease of life to the party.
“This had been demonstrated by the initiative taken by Umno in the setting up of Puteri which provided a platform in attracting the young generation. This should also be done at the party level,” she said.
Young leaders must be present in the party so that it would continue to be relevant and accepted by the people because 70% of the voters in the 13th general election were expected to comprise young voters.
Making way for the young leaders would ensure that Umno was always close to the community because the young leaders would inherit the country’s leadership later, she said.
Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said Umno members must treat the message conveyed by Abdullah in his policy speech as an ‘open reminder’ from the Umno president to ensure the party’s survival.
Abdullah, who did not defend his Umno presidency this time, will hand over the party leadership to his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on 28 March.
MT member Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said relations between the old and new leaders must be continued in efforts to transform the party.
He said there must be continuity to enable the party to utilise the experience and wisdom available to continue the party’s struggles.
MT member Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Abdullah’s last policy speech aimed to remind the new leaders about the party’s future direction.
The reminder was not only directed at the new leaders who would lead the party up to 2011 but also at all party members at the grassroots level. — Bernama