Prepare to lose youth votes, experts tell Umno

The Umno cleanse which sees the sacking of former Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin may lead to the loss of youth supporters and on-the-fence voters in upcoming election.

(Sinar Daily) – Independent political analyst Datuk Anbumani Balan viewed the sacking as unwise and a major loss for Umno.

He explained it was due to Khairy being a ‘magnet’ for the youths who supported the party.

“Umno will face tough times ahead to attract the youth because Khairy has a lot of followers.

“The youth sees him as an icon polished by Umno and an outspoken leader who is consistent and dare to criticise his own party from the beginning.

“Umno must be prepared to lose youth supporters as he is popular among Malays, Chinese and Indians as well as other opposition parties,” he told Sinar Premium.

Anbumani said Umno should maintain or look for new talents who could serve to strengthen the party.

“Umno is now seen as weak since their major loss in the 15th General Election (GE15).

“They should sit down to discuss as well as plan the best strategies instead of sacking influential members. How long are we going to ‘recycle’ old leaders?

“I don’t see it as a ‘cleanse’ but rather a more implicit interest.

“All individuals sacked were not random individuals but those who were loyal to Umno.

“They were sacked with immediate effect, Umno should reflect on it and discuss to solve the party issues,” he explained.

Anbumani was confident that Khairy’s future in politics will not end from this matter.

“The experience of being sacked is a common struggle for politicians, I believe this is a good opportunity for Khairy to rebuild his career.

“He has a plethora of choices and I am confident that several parties will take advantage to lobby Khairy into their parties,” he said.

The former Umno Youth Chief was sacked on Friday due to a violation of party discipline according to the Umno Constitution due to a violation in GE15.

Umno Supreme Council (MKT) member Datuk Puad Zarkashi also announced the sacking of former Selangor Umno Liaison Committee chairman Tan Sri Noh Omar.

Umno suspended several leaders for six years such as the Sembrong MP, former vice president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and former information chief Shahril Sufian Hamdan.

Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA) International Relations Department chief Dr Hussain Yusri Zawawi believed that more Umno members from different levels would leave the party in response to the cleanse.

“Umno will face the internal protest that will bring a negative impact on their members due to the ‘cleanse’.

“This is a blow to Umno as they were seen as a dictators in decision-making.

“We witnessed the wave of youth rejecting Umno in GE15, this ‘cleanse’ will give negative implications for Umno in garnering youth votes,” he explained.

Hussain said Khairy would be remembered as a leader who was willing to be sacked to voice out against the party.

“Khairy with his leadership legacy and his charisma is liked by many, despite not being successful in Umno he has the continued support of the youth in his involvement in politics.

“His leadership can entice any political party to continue working together, it is not impossible for Khairy to win an independent seat,” he said.