Musa Hitam wants younger generation in Umno leadership

Financial Daily, October 23, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: The younger generation is needed to help Umno, formed 61 years ago, recover from its “old-age maladies’: says former party deputy president Tun Musa Hitam.

He said the old-age diseases in Umno could not be “treated” by the elderly as Umno needed new, younger races to rejuvenate the party and win back the confidence of the people.

“What I mean is that those contesting for high posts in the party elections next March, should be younger leaders with new ideas,” he told reporters after holding a press conference on “Bridges-Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace’: here yesterday.

He said although many felt that a combination of the older and younger generations was a wise move, he, however, opined that in a situation where Umno was already 61 years old, it was better for younger people to take over the party leadership.

“If we look at the list of names for the top posts, we see that the choice of candidates for the president and deputy president posts are senior, experienced leaders. To me, it’s alright if that’s what the party members want but I prefer to see many younger faces for the posts below the top two.”

Musa Hitam said Umno must realise that support for the party had declined due to issues that involved people’s perception.

“The people’s perception is that Umno has been in power for very long and the results of the March 8 general election showed that there were serious weaknesses that Umno could not overcome, such as corruption.”

He said the present generation were educated, thinking people who rejected corruption and embraced accountability and credibility expected from leaders.
“The people now are not like those in the old time. Today’s educated society abhors corruption. If a leader has a bad image and no credibility, people will not accept whatever he says:’

On the ongoing process of choosing leaders in Unmo, Musa said it was still based on the old yardstick.

“So far, none of the candidates contesting in the March party elections has stated clearly that if chosen, they would earnestly strive to overcome the effects of the global economic crisis.

“This shows that Umno leaders are busy jostling for power for their self interest instead of thinking of solving problems faced by the people” he said.