Thursday, April 03, 2008

Transforming And Reforming Pemuda Umno

And its chief Hishammuddin Hussein is leading the way by not defending his post in the December Umno elections this year.

“We have to look forward. We have to do changes and reforms, re-build the party and the wing. And if the Youth is still in a situation where they don’t know what my plans are come December, that becomes a barrier for us to move forward.

“I feel today might be the right time for me to tell them about my plans after 10 years of building the Youth from the time when it was split to where it is now," he said today.

His announcement not to defend his post has paved the way for Jerlun MP Mukhriz Mahathir and former Selangor Menteri Besar Dr Khir Toyo to offer themselves as candidates for the post.

Both had said that they would offer themselves if Hishammuddin decided not to defend the post.

Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin had no comment when the Press contacted him after Hishammuddin's announcement.

Asked whether he wants Khairy to contest for the post, Hishammuddin said it was not for him to decide.

Hishammuddin did not endorse any candidate as his successor although he confessed that he had a personal favourite but would prefer to keep it to himself.

"I have only one vote", he remarked.

(sources: The Sun, Bernama)

So, it's been 10 years, huh? Two years, from 1998 as acting Umno Youth chief and the remaining, after winning the post uncontested in the party elections.

Oh yes, I remember Hishammuddin when he was first elected to the Umno Supreme Council. I had positive thoughts of him, that he'd do good because he seemed "decent and clean".
You know, well-educated, well brought-up. Good family.
A naive thought on my part, perhaps.

But, he seemed a nice guy. Now, how was I to know then that, really, nice guys don't win wars?

This will indeed be exciting. We'll see what the Pemuda is made of. We'll see if the wing is serious about wanting to reform, to shake off so much baggage.

After the Lunas by-election in 2000 (in which the BN lost, causing it to lose its two-thirds majority in Kedah) Umno Youth leaders were so worried about their battered image that they decided to go full gear to repair and rebuild it.

How bad was their image? Being seen in the Pemuda's "white" attire was never a good idea. It was that bad.

In May 2002, I wrote an article in the NST about "Umno's Renewed Sense of Confidence". I interviewed Azalina Othman Said who was then pro-tem chief of Puteri Umno and Hishammuddin. Here is an excerpt:
 It was not too long ago that Hishammuddin faced criticism targeted at
Umno Youth, especially "since Lunas" (State by-election).
(The movement was criticised for a serious faux pas that many believed
cost the BN many crucial votes. Parti Keadilan Nasional's Saifuddin
Nasution Ismail wrested the seat from BN's S. Anthonysamy. The seat was
left vacant following the death of its Assemblyman, MIC's Dr Joe Fernandez
in 2000.)
The lesson learnt in Lunas was costly but valuable for Hishammuddin and
his Exco. There was a time when even the uniform attire worn by Umno Youth
members was "wrong" and fodder for critics.
In fact, even the noblest of causes drew flak. It was so easy to
criticise anything that had an Umno Youth label. Its Pemuda Masuk Kampung
programme - an attempt to be close to the people - was touted as
pretentious and insincere when it was first carried out.
In short, everything was wrong about the movement. It was not difficult
to discredit it
Aah yes. The "Pemuda Masuk Kampung" programme. You see, if your intentions are sincere, you have at least to be seen to be sincere because you cannot fool everyone every time. Not even the "simple" kampung folk.

On hindsight, it did not quite matter whether Umno Youth succeeded in reforming itself. The BN did well in the 2004 general election.

In the ensuing years, we can assume that the wing returned to its "bad old ways" -- it got overly confident, too smug and too arrogant and completely detached from the people.

Will Hishammuddin's departure and his successor bring the desired transformation and reformation in Umno Youth?

Will his successor be effective and successful in leading Umno Youth to rebuild itself to help in the bigger scheme of things -- to rebuild Umno.

Will it rest on who are contesting and who wins? Will this all be an exercise in futility as Umno is doomed, never to rise again? Ever.

We know that nothing is ever certain. Remember how many of us were stunned by the overwhelming victory of the opposition parties?

After the fact and on hindsight -- yeah, everyone was a self-proclaimed clairvoyant.

Which means if Umno Youth gets it right, who knows? We know that nobody or nothing can really be ever written off.

Meanwhile, although Hishammuddin made it clear that he's still the boss, I dare say -- let the games begin, if they have not already.


Ahmad said...

Whichever we go, I have lost faith in UMNO. I don't think UMNO can reform. I don't think UMNO can beat its opponents again. That's a forgone conclusion. The non-Malays are even more emboldened in supporting Pakatan while Malays are losing hope in UMNO and joining PKR and PAS. UMNO is the past. So, I don't know why HishamKeris and his gang talk about "forward", "reforms" as if we are ready to buy the bait again.

donplaypuks said...

The man dubbed 'Kerismuddin' must realize one thing.

If he had not voluntarily announce his departure, then he would, as sure as the sun rises in the East, have been forced out anyway.

His keris-waving immature and dangerously racist/demagogic antics cost UMNO dear in GE 2008.

How dear? Selangor, Perak, Kedah & Penang. And there's more to come.

Firaun, Rosemajib, Kerismuddin, BDS and other UMNO MP's have all played the race card at one time or another and paid for it with their reputation now in tatters.

Never underestimate the average man in the cities, villagers or kampungs!

If SIL takes over, that will hasten the complete demise of UMNO Youth.

nstman said...

Hisham was a breath of fresh air when he burst upon the political scene. Good looks, articulate, well educated. He had everything. But he made one stupid mistake. He played to the Malay racist gallery. For all his education and cosmopolitan outlook he decided to fast track his political career . What better way than to take the route of his predecessors = by playing the racist card. What goes around comes around. He may have won over the Umno rightists, but in the end he lost the middle ground. The middle ground Malays have deserted Umno and joined PKR and Pas. Also Umno's take it or leave it attitude towards its component partners has lost them the Chinese and Indian votes. Poor Hisham is now the leader of radical Malays, and they are heavily outnumbered. The chickens have surely come home to roost. Umno is now a party of lost souls who have been left behind in an ever changing political landscape which has no room for them.

Anonymous said...

This was my experience with a member of Pemuda UMNO. Day before election... Proudly telling me an old hag that KJ is the strategist for UMNO and he has 70% of Pemuda UMNO backing him and he will win his MP sit.

Jeez that is the arrogance of the young ciku called PEMUDA UMNO. Its known that KJ lost the sit on first count and only won after second count and the rest is history.

I felt like being bitchy in sending SMS "what happened to KJ's strategy?" on Sunday morning after the election...then nah...! no point rubbing it into the young ciku PEMUDA UMNO he doesnt have the hang of it even though he is a certified charted accountant.

Remembered telling him that the biggest character flaw of KJ is his arrogance and avaricity which is reflected in practically every level of the UMNO party anyway especially the higher echelon.

Well I guess I had the biggest rub in coz the young ciku dare not open his mouth about KJ and PEMUDA anymore especially not with me....

:-) Keturunan Jebat

Pemimpin adil hamba menyerah. Pemimpin zalim hamba sanggah.

mekyam said...


To me, Hishammuddin is just preempting losing and losing face (as lose he most certainly will, regardless if Mukh or KhirToyo or even Azalina [ok, joke..joke.. hehehe!] run against him for the top Youth post) if he contested.

This is a cowardly man. Berani only when unchallenged.

Rocky's Bru said...


I thought Hishammuddin wanted KJ to be his deputy so much that he had the balls to tell KJ's father-in-law NOT to even think about stopping Pemuda from making it happen?

Wasn't it Pak Lah who told Malaysians that story when defending his son-in-law's rise to the No W position in the Umno Youth?

If Hishammuddin was so insistent on having KJ to be his No 2 back then, he should be equally insistent on making KJ his successor when he quits Pemuda. Right?

He should tell father-in-law the Umno Prez and PM not to interfere because Pemuda wants to make KJ its chief.

Why keep your "personal" choice or favourite a secret now when you could, back then, unabashedly tell Pak lah that KJ was your Chosen One?

artchan said...

actually he has no where else to go.

If he tries for VP...he will not get through.

malayamuda said...

Kerismuddin is indeed smart.

He realises that the Keris was a BIG isue in the 12th GE.

If he appears without the Keris at the next assembly, he will be labelled " chicken " or " pengkhianat bangsa"

If he appears with it, he will once again ruffle feathers and people will say UMNO is not listening and they are not serious about reinventing themselves.

So the next best thing is to say that you have served 10 years and go to some other position. That way you escape and no more Keris at UMNO meetings

Navi said...

Reformation takes place in the mindset, not just by changing guards. Kerismudins resignation will not change UMNO. Neither can we see reformation taking place with the faces bandied about as replacement.Mukriz might be another Mahathir and Khir Toyo is just Khir Toyo. Setting up blogs does not neccessarily mean a rethink in his ways.

UMNO youth can hope for salvation when they find a leader who is above corruption, cronyismn and all that has stood for UMNO the past 20 years. I don't see one in the horizon yet.

Anonymous said...

Well, at last no more keris kissing Idiot.
We will see if the next one is a dumb or dumber keris kisser.
He should desensintize his ass as he may soom not sit on comfortable MP/BN chair.

Hi&Lo said...

Hisham had to wave the kris to prove to himself and his constituents he's the wira Melayu sejati.

When he first became MP, he drew a lot of flak for being distant and aloof. Hardly visited his kawasan. On the rare occasions he would arrive with his entourage like a VIP.

His leadership of Umno Youth was deemed the weakest in the history of the party.

So, this man must do the most heroic kurang ajar act to redeem his reputation.

Moreover he has to shed his cosmopolitan image to be more convincing as a wira Melayu sejati.

artchan said...

if he reamins youth chief..he must raise the kris again to show he is jantan tulin and not pondan as some people think he is. But to raise the kris is unthinkable as this madman was responsible for voter swing due to his mad kris antic..

So to save face,..he no contest

malaysianlover said...

What are you guys going on about...?

On one hand you hate UMNO/BN the way they were. Fine. When changes are made, in response to your dissatisfactions, kena hantam jugak. Apa you all nak?

I didn't vote for BN either coz I didn't like some jokers in there...but I hope they learned their lessons and make constructive changes. Don't any of you guys ever made any mistakes or stupid things in your life?

I just want a good leader and a good place to live in. Isn't that what we all wants? Let's not make early judgement on the alternative party either. They too have to proof their effectiveness as well. Jangan kita keluar mulut buaya, masuk mulut singa...sudahlah.

Fadhil said...

Salam Puan Nuraina,

Thanks for reminding me of the `Pemuda Masuk Kampung' story.

Your point on the `sincerity' part was exactly what I commented on Dr. Khir Toyo's blog a few days ago. And I hope Dr. Khir (who has directly linked your blog to his) would read your post and understand what I mean. It is now a very relevant issue, seeing that he has eyes on the Ketua Pemuda post.

Anonymous said...

"We'll see if the wing is serious about wanting to reform, to shake off so much baggage."

What kind of lineup, to you, would reflect a truly reformed Pemuda? More specifically, who as Chief would reflect this?

Many say Mukriz is the person. My question to those who hold this: What's so "new" or refreshing about Mukriz? He's yet another son of somebody and we already have those in the form of Najib and Hisham and other smaller, but equally rich, officers.