KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — Umno’s defence of the Malay community can also be achieved by helping the nation progress as a whole, said Senator Khairul Azwan Harun.
The unsuccessful candidate to be Umno Youth chief said that while the party should not be dissuaded from championing the Malay community’s welfare, this need not mean the exclusion of all other communities’ interests.
“Protecting Malay rights means protecting everyone’s rights, because we are one nation. And a nation divided is a threat to Malay progress.
“Of course, Umno should continue to protect what it was created to do, but that does not mean we can forget about other races in Malaysia,” he said in a statement.
Umno is increasingly seen as forging a new partnership with the religiously conservative PAS, with the former’s deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan claiming they were forming a new political cooperative.
Urging his party to abandon the growing shift towards ultra-conservatism and return to centrist politics, he said the Malay nationalist party needed a new paradigm if it is to return to power.
He cautioned that this would be a painful process, one that will require party leaders to let go of existing egos and adopt a selfless attitude instead.
The politician commonly referred to as “Azwanbro” then told Umno leaders they must learn to connect with those they claim to represent and accept that, in politics, public sentiment was supreme.
“Leaders must take the first step, escape our Umno echo chamber, embrace different perspectives, the ones that voted us out,” he said.
“Umno members’ opinions are no longer king.”