KUALA LUMPUR - Umno is more receptive to university students, unlike opposition parties that only exploit them, says supreme council member Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
Following an amendment to the law last year that allowed local undergraduates to play an active part in politics, opposition parties merely roped in students to join anti-government demonstrations, said Shabery, who chairs the Umno Overseas Club bureau.
"The Opposition does not give undergraduates a platform to take part in decision-making," he told reporters at the National Undergraduates Convention held in conjunction with the Umno annual general assembly, which starts tomorrow.
"On the other hand, Umno engages the students and have organised conventions to allow them to channel their views and suggestions directly to the party."
Last year, the University and University Colleges Act was amended to allow undergraduates to hold positions in political parties.
A total of 150 undergraduates from local and foreign universities took part in the one-day convention. The findings will be taken up at the party assembly.
Umno local institutions of higher learning bureau chairman Datuk Razali Ibrahim said the convention was an opportunity for Umno to identify future leaders.
He said Umno was the first party to invite university students to attend its annual general assembly as delegates.
"The Opposition only talks about getting students involved in their party politics but we are doing it by having a proper system to train them as future leaders," said Razali.
Secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, meanwhile, advised undergraduates interested in joining Umno to do so for the right reason.
"It must be to serve the interest of the Malays, uphold the religion and bring progress to the country," he said.
He said if their purpose was to get hold of licences and contracts and to get rich, they would be disappointed.