Malaysiakini News

For the young, reflections of old Umno seen in new Bersatu

Geraldine Tong  |  Published:  |  Modified:

INTERVIEW | For Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen, the Umno leadership today is seen as men and women with greying hair preaching the need to remain relevant with the young, but struggling to do so.

But it wasn't always like this. Rafiq, now a Bersatu leader, pointed out that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak became Pahang menteri besar at the young age of 29 in 1982.

Najib was subsequently appointed a cabinet minister at just 32 years old. At the same age, Rafiq added, Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik was appointed as Malacca chief minister in 1982.

Rafiq was perhaps the odd one out in the modern Umno, climbing to the position of Umno Youth exco member at 27 years old, the youngest at the time.

However, in 2015, Rafiq was suspended for six years for trying to organise a talk for former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was still an Umno member at the time.

Frustrated at the perceived injustice, Rafiq quit Umno and was quickly embraced by Bersatu.

Now at 31 years old, Rafiq sits on the Bersatu supreme council and is the Malacca Bersatu deputy chief.

“The Umno of today closes its doors to the youths.

“But Bersatu has continuity in that we have many youth leaders,” he told Malaysiakini in an interview last week at the Bersatu headquarters in Petaling Jaya...

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