In a launch event held at Thistle Johor Bahru recently, Menteri Besar Dato’ Khaled Nordin accompanied by Defence Minister Tan Sri Hishammudin Hussien as well as Johor Bahru MP, Tan Sri Shahrir Samad, announced the formation of UMNO Johor’s very own ‘Think Tank’, aptly named Bait al-Amanah.
Bait, in Arabic simply means house, and when you add ‘Amanah’ to it, the ‘House of Trust’ is born. The team led by Prof Madya Dr. Abdul Razak Ahmad, is set to strategise UMNO Johor’s reform and to reengineer the party’s relevance in today’s day and age.
Speaking to an estimated crowd of 500 guests, including students, party members and the general public, Khaled said, “It is not a rebranding or a maintenance job, but a total overhaul and reform of the party, adding that it is not something that is wholly cosmetic or externally”.
“Today we have gathered the young educated leaders in UMNO to explain the importance of this reform. These young leaders are the torch that will help brighten the future of the party,” said Khaled.
He took the time to further elaborate the party’s latest movement, the ‘Johor Civil Project’. In the last UMNO convention, Khaled proposed to the party president the idea that the party must take responsibility for its civil actions.
“UMNO must not just be a social movement that is inclusive. UMNO must engage in direct and be serious in helping to confront and solve the everyday problems of society through charitable activities and social enterprise,” said Khaled.
He explained that through this programme, the party has offered a donation to 62 Johorian students in UTM, saying it is part of their civil responsibilities and should be the culture within the party.
Johor Bahru MP Tan Sri Shahrir Samad who commented in an earlier Q&A session believes it’s the next step in helping the citizens of the state.
“I think as a political party, we cannot ignore the fact that we have to represent and take the views of the citizens into account, therefore, Bait al-Amanah will not just be a stand-alone organisation, it will engage and interact with civic groups, NGOs, other organisations.”
“For a ‘Think Tank’ to function properly, it has to be related to the real world,” added Shahrir.
The Johor Bahru MP feels that as a government, they must hear any issues raised by the people and must take into consideration the needs of the population in order to function effectively.