Nazifuddin’s Umno Youth bid seen as a litmus test

PETALING JAYA: Despite his family background, Datuk Nazifuddin Najib (pic) – who is throwing his hat into the ring for the Umno deputy youth chief post – knows the road ahead is riddled with challenges.

For one, he said he would be vying for the post as a “candidate outside the system” and that there is a possibility he will not make it.

Having been an Umno member since 2009, the 39-year-old said the party polls are a litmus test to see whether he has what it takes to be in politics.

“There’s always the possibility of losing and this will definitely reflect badly on my family. But I hope that I can have the chance to contribute to a party that has given a lot to the country and my family.

“I hope Umno can come back to its glory days and remain an integral part of bringing Malaysia forward,” he told The Star.

He said he would inject new ideas into the party should he be elected deputy youth chief.

He added that his father knew of his decision to contest in the party polls and had told him to be cautious.

“I saw him recently in court. He wanted me to be careful and to think through every step,” he said.

His father is former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was Umno president from 2009 to May 12, 2018 and who is now serving a 12-year sentence following the Federal Court’s decision on Aug 23, 2022, to uphold his corruption conviction involving RM42mil of SRC International funds.

Nazifuddin, who is Olympic Council of Malaysia secretary-general, said he had always had an interest in politics but the timing had not been right before.

For the coming Umno polls, he is offering himself to the party as a business and sports leader.

With 18-year-olds being added to the electoral roll as new voters every year, Nazifuddin hopes to bring his ideas to Umno to help the party win over this key demographic.“I believe, if given the chance to serve the party, I can contribute new ideas for Umno Youth based on my experience in different organisations. We need to engage and empower the younger generation,” he added.

If he is chosen as deputy youth chief, he said he will bring forward discussions with the party leadership on how to make Umno membership more open and immediate.

On whether he is aiming to become an elected representative like his elder brother Datuk Nizar Najib, who was elected as Peramu Jaya assemblyman in the 15th General Election last November, Nazifuddin said he hopes to serve the people in that capacity one day.

“I do hope to have the chance to contest one day and serve the community as a people’s representative.

“I believe there’s a strong need for continuous stability in the country and that is something Umno can deliver,” he said.

Nazifuddin said he still believes in Umno as the party played an important role in the country’s history from the days of fighting for independence until the present.

Even if Umno is not leading the government, he said the party and its members could still contribute to the country and help the people.

“For example, if there’s a flood somewhere in the country, the Umno division there can quickly gather to help as there are also sub-teams like Skuad Sabil for immediate disaster response,” he said.Nazifuddin is the youngest son of Najib and his first wife, Tengku Puteri Zainah Tengku Eskandar.

On Jan 29, he declared he would contest the Umno Youth number two post. The party polls began in stages on Feb 1 and will end on March 18.

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