KUALA LUMPUR - Umno leaders should not use the black moments in the country's history to threaten and cajole young people into supporting the party or its cause.
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin observed that the young people of today were better convinced through the politics of hope instead.
"If we tell Generation Y to be grateful to Umno for the benefits they have today, they will turn around and say that providing the benefits is a leader's resposibility.
"Previously, Umno leaders used to gain support by threatening that a tragedy like May 13 could occur if Umno loses its power. We cannot do that now.
"Provide them job opportunities. Provide them a chance at higher education. Once they are convinced there is hope for them, they will support the party," he said at the third National Student Leadership Conference yesterday.
Khairy also called on the Umno members to swiftly respond to any attacks against the party and its leaders, especially through social media.
"This is still a weakness for us. Look at how the Opposition responds to an issue and make their views known. By the time we prepare our statements, they would have put up posters and infographics online," he said.
He referred to the recent controversy of a photograph featuring Opposition MP Nurul Izzah Anwar and self-styled Sulu princess Jacel Kiram, saying it could have been a "free goal" for Umno members.
"Opposition supporters had quickly tried to justify Nurul Izzah's actions by posting photos of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the Israeli prime minister instead.
"Now Umno members should have responded fast by saying the two leaders could not avoid bumping into each other during the United Nation general assembly, while Nurul Izzah had clearly posed for her photograph.
"But they were slow and the Opposition's response became more widely shared than ours," he said at the conference.
The conference, attended by about 300 students from the public and private universities, was organised in conjunction with the 2015 Umno general assembly from Dec 8 to Dec 12.