KUALA LUMPUR: Umno needs to shift to centrism if it wants to attract more progressive and moderate Malays, says Umno Kedah delegate Nor Saidi Nanyan.

He said it was time for Umno to move away from any extreme ideology in order to rebuild the party.

“Now, the other side (opponents) have become too conservative and have been labelled as extremists.

“Meanwhile, those at the other end are too liberal and far left and have been called secular Malays. So, which group of Malays should Umno attract?” he said this during yesterday’s general assembly debates.

Nor Saidi said the 15th General Election served as a reminder from the Malays, prompting the party to develop new formulas and narratives.

He said in order to draw in moderate Malays, the party needed fresh “core pillars” (leadership).

Pahang delegate Fadzli Mohamad Kamal said the party still failed to reach out and build confidence among the urban Malays.

He said Umno must start investing in data and research to demystify the needs of progressive Malays.

“Umno must be a party that provides solutions and ideas. For example, what is the solution to slow economic growth? What is our suggestion to face climate change?

“With more investment in research and data, we would be able to study more critical issues like these,” he said.

Meanwhile, Puteri wing delegate Norlizah Noh reminded members that Umno had always been a moderate party since its formation in 1946.

“Umno negotiated for our independence through diplomacy, not weapons,” she said in her speech.

However, she said the party must find ways to attract young voters while maintaining its essence.

“Apparently in the Malay segment, they’re more attracted to defending the interests of the race and Islam. That’s why we saw Perikatan Nasional win their votes in the last election.

“We don’t advocate for extreme ideas anymore as they could incite misunderstanding among other races.

“However, it would still be very important for us to instil our original struggles while finding new ideas,” she added.

Deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, in his speech on Wednesday, said Malaysia must return to the path of moderation and the party’s decision to work with Pakatan Harapan was to realise that.

He added that due to the current political landscape being fluid, formal political cooperation was no longer relevant.