Friday, January 30, 2009

Can Umno save itself from corruption?

by Fudzail

I have lost trust and hope in Umno top leaders as well as young leaders for a long time, as long as they are part of the sinking ship, they are the same. Period.The Edge Financial Daily saysCan Umno save itself from corruption?CAN Umno save itself from corruption? It is telling that Umno disciplinary board chairman Tan Sri Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen Tengku Ismail has called for all the party's wings - Wanita, Youth, Putera and Puteri - to be abolished in order to reduce corruption in the system.Such a radical message - from a party elder and custodian of its integrity - means that the rot has gone so deep that only the most drastic action can save the organisation from an ignoble fate.Indeed, it is relevant to ask today whether Umno can salvage its reputation, or whether it is too late for that already.Harsh as that may sound, the question now reverberates through the public space, since all efforts to rid the party of corruption for over two decades have failed to cure it of the malaise.What has brought Umno, once the most formidable political force in the country, to its current crisis of credibility?The answer is simple - the system of checks and balances that can prevent people in power from abusing their positions to reward their supporters is not working.For Umno to stop corruption from spreading, it must open itself to scrutiny, so that people who are not able to benefit from their proximity to the seat of power can object when favours are granted by the powerful to their family members and friends.If Umno can rise to the challenge, perhaps there is hope for its political renaissance.If it cannot, it must live with the taint of money politics, as the scourge of corruption in its ranks has been euphemistically called, and deal with the consequences of its inertia.Today, the odour of corruption that envelops Umno cannot be masked by the failure of those who make such accusations to provide concrete evidence of the practice. It is well reported that Umno leaders themselves have been loudly complaining about vote-buying for the longest time.This has become standard fare whenever an Umno election looms, and reports of money politics on a mind-boggling scale have become an inseparable part of the political scenario. Who cannot recall the episode of a candidate for a division chief's post who spent RM6 million in 1995 on his campaign?In such a milieu, is it possible that Umno leaders at all levels are free of money politics?Further, with Umno's standing at such a low ebb, how can it hope to renew the Barisan Nasional after the mauling that the coalition received in the last election?Indeed, the current generation of Umno leaders deserve to apologise to the likes of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak, Tun Dr Ismail and Tun Hussein Onn, who laid the foundations of the nation's progress, for bringing the political situation to its current abyss.

No comments: