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Najib under pressure to launch bumi agenda: Saifuddin

  • Saifuddin Abdullah and his book "Memacu Transformasi." Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily
  • Saifuddin: BN will not win the next GE on bumi agenda alone. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 (Sin Chew Daily) -- Former Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah pointed out that prime minister cum Umno president announced on September 14 to make bumiputra empowerment policy a key national agenda as he was then under pressure from the party elections, in hope of getting renewed support from Umno delegates.

He explained that Najib was under certain degree of pressure from within the party after the GE13. The 1Malaysia concept mooted by the PM earlier on was misconstrued by some bumiputras and Malays as a form of compromise to non-bumis or non-Malays.

However, Saifuddin felt that after the party elections, there is no major resistance within the party and being in a relatively comfortable position now, Najib should be able to freely carry out his transformation program and reactivate the New Economic Model.

He said during an exclusive interview with Sin Chew Daily that there have been voices calling for the reactivation of the NEM after the Umno elections. He said with all three incumbent vice presidents re-elected, Najib should be able to revert to the original political track to reactivate his original plans.

He said Najib issued the "Chinese tsunami" statement out of frustration with the general election results, not because he wanted to put the blame on Chinese Malaysians.

Although Saifuddin failed in his re-election bid for the Umno Supreme Council, he had been appointed the chief executive of the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation (GMM) by Najib some three months ago.

He said in Umno, a tough and outspoken leader is generally popular among party members while one who acts weak or is indecisive will slide in popularity.

However he emphasized that most party members are actually quite moderate and this can be seen from their religious practices, living habits and their views on non-Malays. Besides, they are also obedient to the instructions from the party president. Nevertheless, there are a handful of leaders who are advocates of rightism and racism, and smaller percentage of reformists.

He believes Najib is a moderate, democratic and reformist leaders.

Saifuddin told Sin Chew Daily many young people still support BN now although they are unwilling to join any monoracial political party. While BN is a multi-party alliance, it is made up of mostly monoracial parties.

He said in the past many people supported PKR because of the personal charisma of its national advisor Anwar Ibrahim, but today the multiracial nature of the party makes it popular among young people and professionals.

When asked to comment on the claim by some that BN should continue to focus on bumiputra agenda since it still won the general elections without the support of Chinese voters, Saifuddin said it would be impossible for BN to win the next general elections again if it were to only take care of the interests of bumiputras.

New social community has become increasingly apparent in the latest general elections. Among the 49 parliamentary constituencies with at least one institution of higher learning, 33 were clinched by Pakatan while BN only managed 16.

"Our society is beginning to transform itself. Influenced by global culture and social media, a locally educated middle class pursuing democracy and moderation is taking shape. Some 70% of Malaysians are living in urban areas and they are a well educated lot."

He illustrated further that Pakatan received 53% of popular votes in GE13 while BN only obtained 47%, showing that this new social community is getting bigger and bigger while the community aspiring for development is shrinking concurrently. If BN does not change its policies, it will face an even bigger challenge come the next GE.


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