Embrace “design thinking” , wahai UMNO

UMNO needs to embrace "design thinking" and " thought leadership" to ensure that its role at the Opposition is only a temporary mandate and not a permanent fate.


As 2018 winds down, the devastation the year left on UMNO is so widespread that many think that the party is just one more crisis away from extinction. In fact, what has happened to UMNO in 2018 which has never happened to UMNO in its 72 years of existence? Losing power at its birth place in Johor, losing the Federal Government, having its President arrested on corruption, changing leaders three times in a year, having groups of MPs leave and decimate the network in its fixed deposit state of Sabah,  having its party accounts frozen – the list is endless.

However, the silver lining (“hikmah“) behind all of this is that although UMNO has received uppercuts, oyuken punches, kicked in the groin, stabbed in the back and left for dead, UMNO has not given up and is still alive and fighting, tuan-tuan & puan-puan.

As the shock begins to wear off, the members and leadership have begun the painful rebuilding process.  Under Acting President Dato Seri Utama Mohd. Hassan, there is now a move toward decentralisation and giving more say to the State level party machinery to implement strategy. It used to be that everything needed to be cleared by the Headquarters which made decision making slow, but now UMNO at the states will be given more freedom to navigate their own path. This is because what works for UMNO in Selangor may not be the same for what works for UMNO in Perak or UMNO in Kelantan. UMNO Sabah in its place has been given autonomy.

However this means that UMNO at the State levels will need to show greater initiative. In my adopted state of Selangor, UMNO has been out of power for more than 10 years. The party machinery is very weak and lacks a credible leadership.A reboot in thinking is also required.

To address this,  the Majilis Tertinggi of UMNO needs to appoint young and capable leaders. Age should not be seen as a barrier as the Menteri Besar of Selangor is not even 40 years old. UMNO must humble itself to learn from their enemies and adopt the “no protocol” approach as espoused by Minister of Transport, Anthony Loke . Issues should be selected so that it showcase “design thinking” and “thought leadership” of UMNO, which means looking at issues holistically and giving solutions. Merely campaigning on race and religion is not going to work anymore as UMNO needs to create positive energy around its brand. People must begin to refer to UMNO as being smarter than the Pakatan Harapan.  One way is to require the entire UMNO Supreme Council to undergo formal design thinking training.

Design thinking refers to the cognitive, strategic and practical processes by which design concepts (proposals for new products, buildings, machines, etc.) are developed by designers and/or design teams. For a political party like UMNO, design thinking is required for UMNO to create not only the right political product for the rakyat, but to re-engineer internal processes and systems within the party. The benefits of this approach will transform UMNO from being a one dimensional political party to an innovative organisation which are able to articulate a multi layered strategy (“hujah yg berlapis“) and regain the public trust and confidence. In fact UMNO may even be the first political party in the world to embrace modern concepts and will be looked upon by the rakyat as the source of our national leaders.

Hidup UMNO!


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  1. Bro you’ve been living in a partisan bubble, let me give you my unsolicited advice from a non-partisan point of view on UMNO:

    1. To some, UMNO is a four-letter word nobody would like to be associated with. It’s dirty and unfashionable
    2. UMNO top leadership is going to the slammer one by one, checkout the charge counts. Surely one or two will stick
    3. Apart from KJ and his ilk, what is left of UMNO right now are a bunch of racist, rightist warlords who are up to stir shit by harping on racist issues
    4. As long as the warlords still rule, UMNO have no future in this country. The non-malays hate them, the Borneos loath them
    5. Even PAS has declined to sleep on the same bed with UMNO. Sure they’ve joined forces on ICERD but that’s only for their benefit. PAS is the biggest winner in that anti-ICERD rally
    6. Without PAS or non-malay support tell me how the hell UMNO going to wrestle back power next term let alone 24 months?
    7. Once the PH government has stabilised the economy and shower handouts to the B40, their approval rating will go up accordingly

    UMNO tengah nazak, tunggu kena talkinkan jer unless by some miracle a progressive leader takes it back to the centre.

  2. Hi Bro Afif,
    Thanks for your comment, but UMNO like any organisation reserves the right to make a change. After all, once upon a time Apple Computers was considered a basketcase and nobody wanted to be their CEO. UMNO too can change if it wants to and emerge victorious if they are willing to take political risks. The question is whether Mohd Hassan will be like Steve Jobs of Apple or Stephen Elop of Microsoft?