Nazri should run for Umno’s presidency

comments     Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman     Published     Updated

I know this suggestion sounds odd coming from a political opponent of YB Nazri Aziz, but as I have stressed before, party politics should not transcend national interest. Umno needs an overhaul and I believe YB Nazri could be one of the change-makers to make Umno a worthier and accountable opponent.

Notorious for his brash attitude in dealing with issues, from screaming “racist” 28 times in Parliament to challenging the Tunku Mahkota of Johor, YB Nazri is indeed a colourful politician.

It’s critical to note that no politician is infallible. Perfection in politics is a myth. I heavily disagree with YB’s blind defence of Barisan Nasional and his occasional emotional outbursts which undermine national progress. However, almost all politicians have had those moments. What matters is the value-adding the person can bring to Malaysia. This is where YB Nazri stands out in Umno.

He is not shy in calling out racism when he sees it. He notoriously called his former mentor Dr Mahathir Mohamad a “racist” for supporting Barisan Nasional’s indoctrination machine known as ‘BTN’ (Biro Tatanegara or the National Civics Bureau). This outburst was undeniably laced with political interest as he was tasked to defend Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Pak Lah) at the time, but his criticism was legitimate nonetheless.

When the grassroots in Umno were unhappy with Najib Abdul Razak’s ‘1Malaysia’ campaign, Nazri didn’t pander to the masses, instead proudly proclaimed that he is a Malaysian 1st and Malay 2nd, contradicting the then-deputy prime minister of Malaysia, Muhyiddin Yassin.

This signals his sincerity in forwarding the Malaysian agenda. Coming from a race-based political party, it is exceptionally unpopular to mention these things yet he went on anyway due to his beliefs.

This provides a unique counter-narrative in Umno which is woefully needed at the moment. Umno is not supposed to be a monolithic ideological block. During Tunku Abdul Rahman’s era, Umno was a party which assembled diverse opinions and beliefs among the malay community. Progressives, liberals, conservatives, Malay nationalists, etc were all accepted and celebrated...

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