Khairy Jamaluddin, who is vying for the position of Umno president, said the party's new chief must rein in leaders who make statements that are "samseng" (gangster) in nature.
"The president must show a good example.
"If there are any statements by leaders or division chief, even dominant ones, who make statements that are samseng and anger the people, reprimand them.
"We need to have strong discipline (to be enforced) by the president to ensure there will not be such perceptions," he told an interview with Mingguan Malaysia today.
Khairy said the current perception is that Umno was dirty, practiced money politics and engaged in personal attacks.
"We must prove to the people that there will no longer be such a culture," he said.
Likewise, Khairy said the Umno president must also be open to criticism.
"If we truly want to become an open party that does not practice a feudal culture, the culture of insulating the president from the truth, then we end this negative culture now," he said.
Khairy said he believes that non-Malay support will eventually return to BN if it can prove its check and balance role against the government.
He was also asked about how he would handle the 1MDB issue if he became Umno president, to which he said those who were responsible must face the law.
"We must draw a line. It is true that we supported (former Umno president) Najib Abdul Razak (photo) and we were wrong not to tell him the real situation.
"But in terms of legal implication, those involved must answer.
"Umno became entangled (with 1MDB) because it supported Najib. But if there are wrongdoings, it must be answered by those involved and not Umno," he said.
New BN formula
Najib last month resigned as Umno president and BN chairperson after leading the coalition to its first defeat in the May 9 general election, 61 years since independence.
Four other candidates are contesting for the position of Umno president in the June 30 party election, namely acting president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and relative unknowns Mohamed Iqbal Maricair and Mohd Yusof Musa @ Jamaluddin.
On regaining non-Malay support for BN, Khairy acknowledged that it will take time to win back Chinese voters but added that they will not support DAP forever.
"The Chinese community will return immediately to BN. They want to see BN accept defeat, they do not want us to be in denial.
"When they see that we can play a check and balance role, there will be those who will come to us and MCA can start over.
"For now, they support DAP but it will not be forever, but we must be seen to be fair to all," he said.
Khairy said non-Malays did not support BN previously because Umno was perceived as being too dominant.
"Therefore we need a new formula. Not that Umno would concede but we need a formula that is fairer to all," he said.