PKR supreme council member Mohd Rafizi Ramli today announced his candidacy for party Youth chief at the upcoming party elections.
He also unveiled his team, dubbed Generasi Reformasi, at a press conference held in Petaling Jaya this morning.
His running mate for the Youth deputy chief’s post is Batu Caves state assemblyperson Amirudin Shari.
Others in Rafizi’s (left) team includes Pantai Jerejak state assemblyperson Sim Tze Tzin and Hutan Melintang state assemblyperson S Kesavan, who are vying for the position of vice-youth wing chief.
For the youth wing exco, the team’s candidates are Teja assemblyperson Chang Lih Kang, Halimey Abu Bakar, MA Tinagaran and Saifullah Zulkifli, as well as present Kota Kinabalu Youth chief Jafery Jomion.
Rafizi, who is the chief executive officer (CEO) at the Selangor economic adviser’s office, said that the party’s Youth movement needed to increase its “dynamism” and the line-up of fresh and multiracial leaders is necessary to prepare for the next general election.
“The issues that we champion must reflect the wishes of the 4.6 million voters who have diverse opinions,” he said, adding that young voters are those who will determine who will helm Putrajaya.
Rafizi is the first of the expected contenders for the post who has declared his intentions. In order to qualify for the contest each candidate would have to have the backing of at least two divisions.
Division level nominations and voting which are currently ongoing is expected to be completed at the end of September.
Asked about his chances and lack of popularity compared to incumbent Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Akin, Rafizi said: “In the beginning I felt it too but I am not really worried about it as most importantly is the message we are trying to convey to the voters outside.
“However, the time has come to change the ‘old approach’ which was somewhat ‘cultist’, said Rafizi, who also pointed out that the movement under Shamsul has not built a team of leaders but just gave prominence to a small number.
“We can’t say if it is good or bad… we want this to be a healthy competition. It is about the objectives and the direction we are taking,” said Rafizi.
“In this party anyone can contest, unlike other parties that have barriers,” he said.
PKR is the first major political party to implement direct voting for all division-level positions as well as for the supreme council, which includes top leadership posts such as the president and deputy president.
About 400,000 members would cast their votes twice – one at the division annual general meeting (AGM) to elect division leaders, and another at a second meeting to poll for the top leaders – from Sept 17 to Nov 21.
The much-anticipated polls come afteramendments were made to the constitution at the PKR national congress two years ago.
“Parties which are successful in effectively addressing issues that are close to the youth will have an advantage,” said Rafizi.
“Our approach also needs to vary to entice larger groups of the younger generations who are now uninterested in politics,” he added.
He was quick to add that other political parties like PAS and Umno are also affected by the change in the younger generations’ voting trend.