KUALA LUMPUR, March 5 — Nooryana Najwa Najib has thrown her hat into the ring to be the next Lembah Pantai Puteri Umno chief.
The only daughter of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor comes from a long line of party stalwarts and joined Umno four years ago but appears to be seeking to play an active role now.
In an interview with Mingguan Malaysia, the weekend edition of Utusan Malaysia, published today, the young mother disclosed that her interest in becoming an active politician began with an initiative called Permata Interact, which offers English classes and programmes to empower youths in Kerinchi — known as the poorer side of Lembah Pantai.
“I actually have some experiences serving Lembah Pantai.
“It was from there that I fell in love with Lembah Pantai. Apart from that, I saw the initiative receiving positive response among the children, teenagers and parents in Lembah Pantai.
“So I hope that such initiatives can be used to attract more youths,” she said in the interview.
On top of that, Nooryana has identified those who needed more attention, namely the lower income group, who will be her focus.
She has pledged to serve the constituency by offering an opportunity for better education so that they can change their destiny.
Nooryana said she joined Umno in 2019 after returning from the US upon completing her further education at the University of Harvard and that she was registered as a member in the Lembah Pantai Umno division.
“Actually, if people want to talk about it, the turning point for me venturing into politics was during the 15th general election.
“Because before that, during the campaign period, I always followed my father or other politicians.
“But GE15, I moved around solo and I saw for myself how the aunties and uncles remembered Najib’s services and some missed the Barisan Nasional government,” she was quoted as saying.
She also recalled that some had shared how their lives were changed by BR1M and the 1Malaysia clinics.
“From there I saw that if we have a comprehensive and effective policy, it can actually bring good changes to society.
“For example, there is a single mother who received BR1M and from the assistance she was able to buy a wheelchair for her son who is a disabled person.
“Apart from that, I was also able to meet Umno grassroots members who always gave words of encouragement to my family in facing difficult times. Therefore, I think this is the best time for me to repay their services and Umno,” Nooryana told the Malay newspaper.
She added that this is the best opportunity she has as Umno is currently in a weak state and needs all the support of its members.
“We all play a role and it is important to work together heading towards a clear direction for the betterment of the party,” she said.
Asked whether she was dependent on her father’s popularity, Nooryana said she could not deny that Najib’s popularity does carry some advantage.
“It cannot be denied that my father’s popularity gave me a little advantage.
“But as his child, I need to build my own strength, my own leadership style with my brand by fighting for issues close to my heart.
“If we look at it, it is the same with Najib when he was active in politics. Many members recognised the services of the late Tun Abdul Razak but Najib later succeeded in becoming a leader with his own personality.
“If we look at Bossku and Tun Abdul Razak, they are two different personalities but the people like them,” she added.
At the same time, Nooryana said she will get her father’s blessings for her success in politics.
“I must get my father’s blessing and he advises that if I want to succeed in politics I have to start from the bottom.
“We need to move from one state to another because this is the best time for me to gain experience.
“He even advised me to meet as many Umno members as possible while I can. If we look at why the Bossku brand is successful, it’s because he knows everyone, he knows people’s names and which division they are from.
“So he is the best model and hopefully I can make him proud of me one day,” she was quoted as saying.
She also expressed her views on who is best to lead Umno at the moment, suggesting that there should be teamwork between the experienced and the youths.
“The old timers should offer advice to the younger ones while the younger ones should offer their views so that Umno is able to sustain and remain relevant.
“Throughout the election process, I noticed that there are very young leaders who could have been offered high positions in the party.
“For example, among Puteri Umno, if they have exceeded the age [to be Puteri Umno] they should get support from divisions to take over Wanita Umno posts.
“I also see that Umno leaders have encouraged more youth leaders to be active in the party and given them more primary posts. This is a positive development,” she told the newspaper.
She believed that after the party election, the party will receive support, and as long as Umno is united, they will be able to regain the people’s trust.
Speaking of party transformation, Nooryana said while she agreed that there was a need to transform the party, the leaders need to take up the responsibility to study how this can be done inclusively, taking into account the views including those who are outside of the party.
“This is important because it is people outside of Umno who will decide the fate of the party. In other words it will be determined by the rakyat themselves,” she said.
On the party’s involvement in the unity government, she said that there still many talents within Umno and they should be given an opportunity to serve in the party.
“When Umno’s performance collapsed in GE15, we had two options — either to be the Opposition or part of the government.
“So in my opinion, it is better for Umno to be part of the government because Umno must show party leadership in determining the policies and direction of the country.
“We want to see Umno synonymous with the will of the people, so we have to play our role in the government so that the people can feel that Umno has a clear direction, that it will fight for the people,” she was quoted as saying.
Umno, the country’s biggest political party, is holding its internal elections this month, starting with the divisions.
The elections for senior leadership positions — except for the party presidency and deputy presidency — will be held from March 11 to 18.