'This is my last chance' - Nazifuddin
Nazifuddin. - Photo by Sinar Harian/Mohd Halim Abdul Wahid
On paper his chances seem bright, as he brings with him the legacy of Tun Razak, however Nazifuddin said he does not see this as an advantage as everyone contesting in the party polls needs to go through the same procedures and processes.
In an exclusive interview with Sinar Harian, the Umno Langkawi member touched upon a multitude of topics.
On whether it was the perfect time for him to announce his candidacy for the Umno Youth Deputy Chief post, Nazifuddin said he already had the intention to do so when he saw that the youth votes had started to decline for Umno in the 15th General Election.
“I have had the intent to serve in politics, my family from my grandfather to my father's lives were intertwined with politics. This is my last chance to make my mark as part of the leadership line up in the youth wing as the post can only be held by individuals that are below 40-years old and I am already 39.
“There is no time but now, the youth have started to reject Umno in GE15 and as the son of the former Umno president if I don’t help the party now, who will? Even if I only managed to get back a few votes for Umno, then my efforts have not been in vain for the party that my father truly loved,” he said.
Nazifuddin explained that in order to attract youth votes, what is important is that the generations are not too far away from each other, for youths to share a similar connection to their leaders.
He explained that if there was a large generation gap, the youth might find it hard to relate or make a connection with their leaders.
He elaborated that traditional programmes utilised by Umno such as long and dragging political talks (ceramah) and programmes do not quite appeal to the youth.
“I think talks or political programmes are some what old methods, I don’t think Umno should forgo it completely but the youth currently prefer a no nonsense quick to the point format
"The history of Umno and its dedication in helping the people of course cannot be denied, but what the youths want is what is the party's message going forward.
"What can the party bring to the table for the youths, that is what they want to see, that is what the new Umno Youth leadership must achieve,” he said.
Commenting on Umno's rejuvenation process, Nazifuddin said it was not something simple that could be achieved in a day.
"This is why we need to attract more youths with potential to join the party, Umno’s application process must be simplified and there must be a platform within the party that can identify all these bright sparks and bring them into Umno.
“Many leaders are now at their golden ages and its time to work with new fresh leaders, both can cooperate together,” he said.
When asked on the recent Umno purge, he said throughout the party's history it has always dealt with issues at hand.
He explained that in a party or association the constitution is the basis of a decision being made, where it does not favour any sides.
As for those members who had been suspended and sacked, Nazifuddin said there was an option to appeal the decision and Umno must have room to reconcile.
“What’s important now is the future of Umno as we must look forward and figure out how to rise again, to bring back the people's trust towards Umno and prepare for the upcoming election," he said
On the view by political analysts that the move by the party to purge its notable leaders signifies the party's unwillingness to change and this would affect the party's chances, Nazifuddin said those were merely views from individuals.
"It was to renew the party, but there are chances to appeal and everything can change to suit the future needs of the party," he stressed.
In terms of state elections, Nazifuddin said it was of utmost importance for the party to select the proper candidates.
“I think the choice of candidates must be thorough, we have never worked together with Pakatan Harapan (PH) as a team in the state election or the election. I think a discussion must be done with PH on how we will tackle the state elections.
“We need a strong team, even with the differences in ideals I think the youth in the party could bring a strong and mature political approach, it is important for us to band together instead of fighting each other to ensure stability,” he said.