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All eyes this week will be on UMNO General Assembly as well as  UMNO Youth,  Wanita and Puteri meetings as to whether they give unstinting or lukewarm support to Abdullah in an all-out war against money politics in UMNO  and  corruption in the country

Media Conference Statement (1)
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Perak, Monday): In his interview with Mingguan Malaysia yesterday, Abdullah  spoke of the need to bring about a majority view in UMNO to abhor political corruption as he was clearly disappointed that he had not received  full and solid UMNO support, referring to some  members who had reacted negatively to action taken against those involved in money politics by saying that Umno must sympathise with the "old guard" and  that the disciplinary board was unfair.

Abdullah said he was not in the least bit bothered with criticisms of the firm action that he had taken but he was disappointed that not many members were brave enough to step forward to provide information and that many instead were angry with the action taken.

Abdullah said the UMNO disciplinary board had also investigated several other UMNO supreme council members but action was not taken against them probably because of lack of information.

It is significant that former Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Musa Hitam a week earlier had warned of two possible consequences to Abdullah’s actions – either  his position as Prime Minister and UMNO President would be  threatened by the practitioners of political corruption or  the consolidation of his power base because of support of members who are convinced that there is now a leader who is serious about a clean-up of UMNO.

I fully agree with Musa that the 56th UMNO General Assembly and the other UMNO meetings  this week are  not ordinary ones, as UMNO is at the crossroads as to whether it is capable of transforming  itself into a reform movement to purge money politics in UMNO which is  the necessary  precondition to any successful  nation-wide  campaign to eradicate corruption and create a new culture of political and public integrity with zero tolerance for corruption.

This is why all eyes this week will be on the UMNO General Assembly as well as  the UMNO Youth,  Wanita and Puteri meetings as to whether they give unstinting or lukewarm support to Abdullah as Prime Minister and UMNO President, whether they are prepared to grant him a  clear mandate to go beyond the first few steps to fully embark on a “journey of a  thousand miles” to wage an all-out war against money politics in UMNO and  corruption in the country.

UMNO Deputy Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said after the special UMNO Youth meeting on Saturday that UMNO Youth is 100% behind Abdullah in combating money politics.

As “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”, ordinary UMNO members as well as Malaysians will be able to see in the next few days whether the 56th UMNO General Assembly as well as the UMNO Youth, Wanita and Putri wings are capable of rising up to the historic occasion to transform UMNO to spearhead a nation-wide campaign for transparency and integrity by stamping out money politics in UMNO and corruption in the country.

Whether UMNO, UMNO Youth, Wanita and Puteri can rise up to the historic occasion to be in the front-line battle  for transparency and integrity will to a large extent depend on their  preparedness to take a clear stand on three issues or shy from them, viz:

  • Waiver of  the arbitrary April 18 deadline to empower UMNO disciplinary board to investigate into serious allegations of money politics against 15 top UMNO leaders, including two Ministers, two Deputy Ministers, two Chief Ministers and two Mentris Besar, although they were sent to the UMNO Supreme Council only in June this year.

  • Make public the full list of the beneficiaries of the 67,000 Approved Permits (APs) last year to import cars.

  • Demand full investigation by Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) as to how  Datuk Seri Osu Sukam, former Sabah Chief Minister and Federal Minister for Land and Co-operatives  could have amassed  such astronomical wealth as to gamble RM158.7  million, lose RM31.6 million and  run up RM7.1  million debts in a  London casino a year after political retirement, apart from bigger gambling debts in other casinos -  when his monthly salary as Sabah Chief Minister was RM24,000 or RM576,000 for two years; and whether there are other senior politicians or civil servants who are “high roller” members of casinos overseas, whether London, Australia or United States.

Malaysians had been baffled by Abdullah’s refusal to make public the list of AP beneficiaries although this had been the subject of two public calls by the former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who is also Proton Adviser, as it went against Abdullah’s pledge for a clean, honest, accountable and  transparent administration.

The only explanation is that Abdullah did  not feel politically strong enough to make public the full APs list – and this is where  the UMNO General Assembly and the various UMNO Youth, Wanita and Putri meetings can fully empower Abdullah in the battle for transparency and against corruption by endorsing Mahathir’s call for the publication of the APs list of beneficiaries.

The statement by Abdullah in the Mingguan Malaysia interview that he would take action in the APs issue, as there were parties which should not have received the APs but were given them and also those who received more APs than they deserved,  is most welcome.  Let the specifics of such action be announced by Abdullah in his UMNO Presidential Address on Thursday.

This however cannot be a substitute or excuse for the failure to make public the full list of APs beneficiaries, as such publication  should be adopted as one of the “best practices” under the National Integrity Plan to ensure transparency and fight corruption in Malaysia.

Furthermore, action must be taken and seen to be taken against those responsible for the abuses and corruption  of APs, by their issue  to those who should not have received them or who were given  more than they deserved. 

The  Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz should give an acceptable and satisfactory explanation of such APs scandal  in her UMNO Wanita Chief’s address at the opening of the UMNO Wanita general assembly or she should resign as Cabinet Minister to bear full responsibility for APs becoming a byword for corruption and abuses of power under her watch.




*  Lim Kit Siang,Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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