PUTRAJAYA: The proposed amendments to Umno's cons-titution will help win back the younger generation to the party, supreme council member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said yesterday.
He said some of the proposals, if approved, would empower the younger generation and give it a bigger representation in Umno.
"These amendments would make Umno more inclusive. We need to make changes to the party as otherwise the people will continue to reject us. We are serious about these reforms to win back the support of the younger generation.
"We are showing that Umno is open to change and we are willing to listen to the voices of the people," he said.
Saifuddin, who is also deputy higher education minister, said it was of paramount importance to include youth representation from the branches at the division level.
He said one of the proposed amendments required branch Youth, Puteri and Wanita heads to automatically qualify as delegates to the division meeting. This is not the current practice as only branch heads automatically become delegates to the division meeting.
"The branch Youth, Puteri and Wanita deputy heads should also automatically qualify as delegates to the general assembly.
"Youths want their voice to be heard, their roles acknowledged and their issues resolved using the approaches they adhere to. This is what we must do."
Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said, after chairing the supreme council meeting on Friday, that the quota system practised by the party for its elections would be abolished.
He had said this was among the proposed amendments to the party constitution which would be tabled at a special assembly starting on Oct 13.
Umno Youth head Khairy Jamaluddin last week proposed that all party Youth, Puteri and Wanita branch heads automatically qualify as delegates to division meetings.
Saifuddin said he welcomed the abolition of the nomination quotas for the party elections.
"The quota system makes it difficult for young leaders. It takes a long time before they can move up the party hierarchy."
He said the abolition of the quota system could also help to curb money politics in Umno.
"If these proposed amendments are accepted, I believe the next party elections will see the emergence of younger leaders in important positions in Umno."
He said there was no need for the quota system as all Umno members should be given the chance to serve and delegates are wise enough to judge the abilities of the candidates.
Asked about resistance to the proposed amendments, Saifuddin said: "There is bound to be resistance to major changes.
"What we need to do is convince the critics on why we are making the changes and why they must accept it." - NST