Its leaders must change their attitude if the party intends to reform, say political pundits

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno must remove the ‘elephant in the room’ if the party wants to reform itself after losing badly in the 14th general election.

Universiti Malaya academic Prof Awang Azman Awang Pawi said Umno must also look back at its mistakes but added that it will be hard for the Malay based party to rise up again.

“They must look into the mirror and recall what have been done, what were the weaknesses, and the important thing is that they can’t be keeping the elephant in the room.

“Umno leaders must also realise that they can’t be seen with the naked emperor if they really want reform. But it will be hard for Umno leaders to be the opposition because many of them are the elites.

“They must learn to be Mat Sabu but it won’t be easy for many of them,” he said.

Former academic Prof Ahmad Atory Hussein agreed with Awang Azman saying that many of the Umno leaders must now change their political approach.

Ahmad Atory commented that Umno does not need to change its party’s constitution but the attitude of its leaders must come anew.

“A post mortem is needed and to look as a reformed party the leaders must not behave like before.

“No more provocative statements, racial sentiments and must no longer blame others for your own mistakes. That is important if you want to reform the party.

“You do not need to open up Umno for other races. DAP does not change its constitution but Malays are joining them. Same goes to Umno. The leaders’ attitude must change not the party.”

Both scholars then said that to date there was no one in Umno that is capable of replacing Najib Razak, the former party president.

Atory said that Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has yet to be tested while Hishammuddin Hussein will be seen as continuing Najib’s legacy.

Awang Azman on the other hand suggested Mustapha Mohamad as the new face to lead Umno.

“Zahid has not been tested while many want Hishammuddin and I think they will eventually pick him. For me, I can’t name one,” Atory explained.

“Umno must choose people like Mustapha Mohamad who is clean and those linked to Najib must not lead the party if they want to look new,” he added.

Umno lost badly in the general election last week. It was the first defeat the party had suffered since independence.

Najib had announced his resignation as the president of Umno and Barisan Nasional on May 12.