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Umno Youth Head Khairy Jamaluddin's Interview Transcript

Posted: 21 Sep 2013 06:57 PM PDT

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(Bernama) - In the upcoming party elections on Oct 12, Umno Youth head Khairy Jamaluddin will be going for a second term as the Youth wing head of the biggest Malay political party in the country.

He shares his views with Bernama on his future vision and mission and matters pertaining to Umno Youth in a challenging and fast transforming political landscape even within the party.

The following is the transcript of the interview conducted with Khairy in his office recently:

BERNAMA: Yang Berhormat (YB), there are four others vying for the Umno Youth head post this time around. Did you anticipate this? What do you think of your chances of defending your position YB?

KHAIRY: This is a positive development and indicates that Umno leaders including the vice-president and the head of the respective party wings are open to any contest and are ready to be taken on.

Speaking on the chances...Wallahu a'lam (God knows) but firstly I have a track record and experience to show and have contributed to the party's struggles; starting with three terms in Youth Exco, first as an ordinary member, then as vice head and the last four years as the Umno Youth Head. If I'm returned, it will be my fourth term with Umno Youth.

Secondly in my role as the Minister of Youth and Sports, I bring forth Umno Youth's vision through programmes and planning and thirdly I know all the division Youth heads and have established networking with the members of the youth wing.

However, I do not take lightly the challenge from contenders. I view seriously any challenge even from non-Youth Exco or Division Youth heads. I respect anyone who offers himself for the Umno Youth head post.

Therefore, I leave it to the delegates to decide. I'm only responding to the battle cry that first and foremost wants me to ensure the young voters remain within Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN), secondly to help the government realise the aspirations of the new Malay generation and in the bigger picture the Malaysian generation.

This is why it is vital for the Umno Youth head to be in the government to work in tandem with the government policies.

BERNAMA: YB, do you think the delegates owe you a mandate for you to continue for a second term? What are the undertakings that you have yet to settle YB?

KHAIRY: I'm hopeful that the delegates will return the mandate to me as leading this wing is not an easy thing. We have a membership touching 650,000 and this calls for an experienced leader. I'm not belittling the background or the experience of the contenders but as far as I'm concerned Umno Youth needs a leader who knows how to look after a wing that is also a pillar of the party.

They must have the background of a branch and division youth head. They need to have the hands on experience in running the organisation, and a vision to lead a big organisation.

I hope that the delegates will look into all these, especially the fact that a good party administration is vital. The Youth head's position is equivalent to the Vice President's post, with the incumbent playing a role in the party's administration, party's political bureau and the Supreme Council (MT).

On the undertakings that I have yet to settle, is winning back the younger generation. I started these four years ago and it is a continuous process with the focus being taking care of the needs of the youngsters - employment, housing , education, loan and entrepreneurship.

Youths nowadays want to see solutions for their woes and don't want to hear rhetoric.

And speaking of youths within party, there are no training modules yet for members, something that we could not avoid due to time constraints as we are pre-occupied with the task of winning over the hearts of youths. So, in future I'm planning to come up with a new training module for Umno Youth leaders to ensure we have a clearer cadre programme that not only identifies the second liners but also prepares them to take on any role competently at every level of the party.

Winning over the youths and training them for future undertaking will help create a more dynamic youth power of the future.

BERNAMA: YB being the son in-law of former Umno President and Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Pak Lah), your detractors lamented that in the 2009 party elections you had an upper hand due to this family relationship. YB, this time around do you believe that you can prove your detractors wrong and that you can stand on your own?

KHAIRY: Firstly, I would like to clarify this, at the 2009 party assembly Pak Lah was already the out-going party president. Therefore, at that time I had no advantage of being the party president's son-in-law.

I was in a three-corner fight then with Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo and Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir under circumstances that I can only describe as hostile.

Yet, the delegates gave me the mandate as the Umno Youth Chief. This time around, this perception no longer haunts me.

BERNAMA: If you're elected again, what is YB's mission and vision for the next three years and subsequently the 14th General Election (GE14)?

KHAIRY: The training of members and winning over the hearts of youths as I have said earlier is also among the strategies to ensure BN's win in GE14.

My own study on the GE13 outcome indicates that among the Malays in the 21-30 age group, we can still compete with the opposition in winning them over.

This is a good sign for Umno, and also goes to indicate though we may not have won a big majority but our efforts have paid off.

Yet, the challenge ahead is to ensure that we will be able to convince those between 30-40 and the new voters. Those who are 17 or 18 years old today, those who have finished their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), waiting to enter universities, are among the ones that we have to convince by focusing on issues.

Another thing that I have to work on is winning over the fence sitters. I'm confident with the approach that we have taken to convince them, that does not penalise or snub them for being critical on the government or pro opposition.

We have to get to their hearts and answer many of their queries...shed light on current issues regardless on subsidies, the National Higher Education Loan Fund (PTPTN) and on the promises made by the opposition.

My approach is not by antagonising anyone, or through rhetoric but finding the solution for the woes of the younger generation and this is where I want to see intellectual engagement.

BERNAMA: If you win this time, will this be your last term as the Umno Youth Head?

KHAIRY: After two terms, I will leave voluntarily when my mandate expires although I will be 41 then and still eligible to contest. What is important to me is that, I have to set a good example.

Without setting a timeframe to exit, then one will not be able to groom new leaders to take over.

If I'm to leave as a successful Youth leader, I have to groom six to seven second liners with one of them replacing me as the Umno Youth chief.

BERNAMA: Umno Youth has nominated four new names to contest the Supreme Council seats. By fielding this new and young faces at the party's Supreme Council, will this suffice to reflect the efforts to inject young blood into the party?

KHAIRY: Yes, this is part of the process of injecting young blood and rejuvenating the party. And my sincere hopes are that the delegates will give their wholehearted support to them, though this time around we have fielded four of them.

I hope that the four will succeed as this will indicate that the party has accepted the rejuvenation process not only within the youth movement but also in its higher echelons. And this process will only happen if young blood is injected into MT.

If there is no voice of the Youth in the MT, apart from the Umno Youth head, there will be no one to highlight the views of the Youth and also their reaction if we are to do something, I feel the voice of the Youth leader will be drowned.

With four or five representatives from the younger generation, our voice will be heard.

BERNAMA: Regarding Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's article entitled "Umno Dahulu dan Sekarang" (Umno Now and Then) that claimed the present Umno only advocates self interest and no longer fights for the race, religion and the motherland prompting Malays to lose faith on Umno. Is there any truth in this or is it just one's perception only? And what is being done by Umno to improve the economic position of the Malays and help them to compete with the other races?

KHAIRY: I'm of the opinion that this is an unfair observation on Umno. Umno is still fighting for the Malays and the party is sincere in empowering the Malays.

Recently, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak outlined the major agenda in empowering the Bumiputera economy. This is solely an Umno agenda undertaken by an Umno-led government.

Just because a few Umno leaders have made use of their party positions for their own self gains, it is unfair to penalise the whole party. We have to see the party in the bigger picture.

If Umno is out of touch with the Malays, definitely Umno would not have won more seats in GE13 and definitely more Malays would have crossed over to the opposition.

The fact that the Malays have given their wholehearted support, it is now time for Umno to implement its plans. When speaking of the Malay agenda, there have been great plans yet their implementation had disappointed the Malays.

Therefore, Umno's role now is to monitor the implementation of the Bumiputera agenda and ensure its success. In a nutshell, we help only those who deserve and not others including those dubbed as cronies. By this way we will be showing to the people that we are empowering all deserving Bumiputeras and not those who are close to us.

BERNAMA: To ensure that there is no brain drain due to the migration of youths to foreign lands, what are your plans on this YB?

KHAIRY: God Willing, if I am chosen again as the Umno Youth head, next year I'm planning to go for a tour across the world to meet Malaysians residing in foreign lands and woo them to contribute to the nation's development.

 

Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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