PETALING JAYA: The three Umno vice-presidents who will be voted in tomorrow face a heavy responsibility – they will be tasked with spearheading the party’s charge at the next general election.
Vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who is defending his position said the new team would be put in charge of boosting support for the party especially among urban Malays, a key target for Umno in the next elections, which could be a make-or-break one for Barisan Nasional.
“Whoever is going to be there as the number three in Umno will be given a bigger responsibility,” Dr Ahmad Zahid said.
The party’s three vice-presidents are the third in line in the party hierarchy after president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said it was important that Umno steps up efforts to win over Malays living in the major towns and cities as the country was becoming increasingly urbanised.
He said that 60% of Malaysia’s 13.2 million voters were in urban areas and many would return to vote in rural constituencies, giving them a big political clout in those places, too.
“Not enough attention is given to wooing urbanites. If we are not careful, we may even lose in the next elections,” he said.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said general election preparations were the key priority for all 68 candidates vying for the vice-presidency as well as seats in the supreme council, Umno’s top decision-making body.
“This is no ordinary party election,” he said.
“The Umno polls is also important for the party to promote its best people to serve as leaders and to inject new ideas on how to woo support from voters.”
Dr Ahmad Zahid who had conducted numerous in-house research projects for Umno on the matter, noted how the Opposition often tried new approaches in reaching out to target groups, especially using social media.
“The incoming line-up must be able to help Umno manage public opinion on issues affecting the Government to win support for Barisan,” he said.