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Published: Sunday September 15, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday September 15, 2013 MYT 11:44:22 AM

Khairy aims to make Umno Youth more centrist

PUTRAJAYA: Khairy Jamaluddin, who looks set to be returned unopposed as Umno Youth chief, will use his second term to cultivate a more centrist approach for the wing that has traditionally been a pressure group.

He said that being vocal in expressing right-wing sentiment in defending the interests of the party was no longer appropriate.

“I am trying to change the DNA of Umno Youth from being mostly right-wing and Malay-centric to a more centrist wing that focuses on issues and their solutions,” Khairy said in an interview.

With nominations due on Saturday, Khairy has yet to be challenged in the post that he won in the 2009 polls, beating Datuk Mukhriz Tun Mahathir and former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

Khairy stressed that he would not compromise on the party’s core struggle to uphold the interests of Islam, the Malays and the country.

”We will still fight to empower the Malay community, protect the sanctity of Islam and defend this country, but the way we do this must be different,” he said.

One plan he has to re-orientate the wing is to set up a “finishing school” to groom potential young leaders who will be identified from the ranks of Umno Youth and Puteri Umno and from among new members still studying in universities.

The finishing school will expose the members to what Khairy calls “the new politics” and will train them on topics such as human rights, media relations and the social media.

“Whatever I can do to change the DNA of Umno Youth I will do in this last term and one way I want to do it is by rewriting our political education training module for use in the finishing school,” he said.

He added that both the Umno president and deputy president had agreed to the proposal to set up the finishing school which will be headed by supreme council member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

The 37-year-old Khairy admitted that his approach to politics has not gone down well with conservatives in the party who accuse him of being too liberal in his outlook.

“I get called all sorts of names, but I think this is the way forward. If I get a second term I will be 41 years old at the end of it, which is just the right age for me to leave Umno Youth.”

“What I want to do is make sure the changes I am making remain in place after I am gone.”

On the contest for the Umno Youth deputy chief post, Khairy said he supported all four candidates and would accept anyone whom the delegates chose to be his right hand man.

Tags / Keywords: Politics, Umno Youth Khairy Jamaluddin, Umno, Umno polls, Umno elections, Najib Tun Razak, Muhyiddin Yassin, Supreme council, Umno supreme council, Najib, Muhyiddin, Wanita Umno, Umno youth, polls, elections, Politics

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