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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)
(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:
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.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman