KOTA BARU, May 31 — Former Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Youth chief Mohamad Ezam Mohd Noor, who rejoined Umno on Wednesday, can help draw to Umno young people who are inclined to support the Opposition, Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said yesterday.
He said Ezam had great influence on national politics and had a following, particularly among the younger generation, when he was with PKR.
"I feel Ezam can help attract young people to Umno because he is an influential politican," he told reporters after launching the Kelantan Silat Tomoi Association in Kuala Besar here.
Tengku Razaleigh, who is Gua Musang Umno division chief, also said that Ezam could give new ideas for the good of society and Umno.
"Umno can use Ezam if he is truly sincere in wanting to strive for the party," he said.
Tengku Razaleigh also said that Umno should attempt to get more of its former leaders back into the party.
"I feel that despite Tun (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) having left Umno, he still has Umno at heart and his criticism in the past was made in the interest of Umno and the country," he said.
Dr Mahathir, who has been critical of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's leadership, quit Umno on May 19, saying he would only rejoin the party after Abdullah had stepped down as Umno president and prime minister.
Tengku Razaleigh also refuted allegations by certain quarters that he would not contest the post of Umno president if Abdullah stepped down as Umno president and prime minister soon.
"That's not correct. I am offering myself (to contest the post of president) to help rejuvenate an unsettled situation in the country, not because Pak Lah (Abdullah) wants to step down or otherwise.
"Whatever it is, I would want to wait until December," he said.
The Umno elections are scheduled for December when the party holds its general assembly. — Bernama