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Thursday, 29 January 2009

The Trials and Tribulations of the UMNO Disciplinary Board

It is interesting to note the recommendations of Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen. As many know, he is the chairman of the UMNO disciplinary Board. One of its principal functions is to evaluate and investigate complaints of breaches of discipline in UMNO. He has been a minister in the cabinet of Tun Razak, Hussein Onn and Tun Mahathir. He was a so-so minister. Coming from the state of Kelantan, he could never measure up to the eminence and prominence enjoyed by the other Kelantan personage- the larger than life figure of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
The chief complaint nowadays is the rampant use of money politics. Thus far, in this role it has been found wanting.
It is both feared and ridiculed. It’s feared because it has punitive powers. It can suspend or expel a member. However it is often seen as a toothless tiger, its chairman indecisive and incapacitated. It is also seen as a tool for top leadership to carry out selective persecution. The ultimate signal seems to rest with the UMNO president. It depends on who he wants to bump off.
Before any one case is brought for hearing before the board, whereby the accused is allowed to defend him or herself, the complaint is evaluated first by a preliminary committee. Imagine therefore a pre-selection committee. It has powers to determine the fate of any one complaint. It alone decides whether the complaint deserves to see the light of day. This committee probably consist of a few people. It is they who decide the merits of each complaint.
Because it serves as a filtering committee, it has attracted its own share of criticisms. One of the most common criticisms is the usage of selective filtering. At this stage, the subject of the complaint or his/her agents can still influence whether one’s case is brought before the disciplinary board.
Take the example of the case of Isa Samad. The constantly eye-twitching Tan Sri Isa was one of the contestants in the vice president’s post. He subsequently won top position. For a brief period he enjoyed the privilege of sitting immediately next to the deputy president on the stage in PWTC. Alas, his glory days did not last. He was accused of using money to secure that position. He was found guilty of money politics by the UMNO Disciplinary Board and was suspended as an UMNO member.

Isa Samad’s punishment was more or less expected as he was quite open about using money to secure votes. His notoriety in this aspect reached its high point when during his speech at the podium; he warned that those who had taken money from his agents but did not vote for him, will get their punishment in the hereafter. That speech was known as the infamous ‘ padang mahsyar speech’
The question and suspicions of many UMNO members was and is, why only Isa Samad? The other prominent contestant who was also perceived and known to be a heavy punter was Ali Rustam. Indeed he himself was very sure he would be the next to be hauled up and made to suffer the same fate as Isa Samad. He was saved from the political gallows.
The answer may very well lie with the pre-selection committee. A few greying men, unfortunately known to be unfree from their dependence on UMNO’s business largesse, determine which one need to brought up to the main board.

9 comments:

A Voice 29 January 2009 at 09:04  

What happen to KB spraying incident?

Kubang Pasu denial of TDM for delagation?

The problem is with Ku Din himself for being subservient to the MKT and have no balls to be firm.

Dehra Dun,  29 January 2009 at 14:15  

Witch hunt! Intrigues! Blame-Game!These ancient frailties are conspiring against Umno, a party caught in a dreadful crisis. Bota, Besut and Norza popped up in a flash, post-KT, pregnant with poison. If Umno does not fashion a panacea fast, the party may not survive 2009.

Wafting menacingly within Umno ranks are tales, notions, that one faction in Umno is bent on finishing off the other, when Umno is almost wholly behind Najib as he prepares to take over.

The conspiracy-theory, ludicrous or otherwise, unwittingly, I am sure, picked up momentum laced with credence when Tun Mahathir, troubled by tidbits he was hearing, proclaimed that Wan Farid was a Pak Lah tool to ambush Najib in office. The whole party wavered on its choice of candidate as a result, after the event. Pas was able to plant more doubts on the suitability of the candidate.

Since KT, PKR has been roused, thus Bota. The Norza incident deepens the intrigue, spun wickedly. Then Besut suggested a negotiated line-up.

Watching with glee, waiting to pounce is Anwar with his networks straddling most of the major political parties. He is the master strategist, significantly younger and more agile than his former mentor, Tun Mahathir. The Tun is a world-class strategist, but not a networker. He knows not the names of Ketua Bahagian, certainly not in touch with top Pas operatives. Anwar is able to plan as well as execute.

Anwar and his co-strategists sense their big opportunity in the Umno intrigue. They may try to win over a few MPs thus inducing a state of flux in Umno, and a new finger-pointing frenzy.

Against the backdrop is Tengku Rithaudeen unfailingly impartial? Does the Disciplinary Board screen the activities of all the candidates, or do they act on complaints? Who are the whistle-blowers then? Are they some kind of strategists or campaigners for rival candidates?

I refuse to believe Umno is split on Najib. They will back him as they supported Pak Lah when he took over. It does not matter who will feature in Najib's line-up post March. I dont think any of the candidates will inherit borrowed legacy. They will all be Najib's men.

Yes, the only objective of the crackdown on money politics is to try, against all odds, to curb it, and make sure candidates are screened purely on merits.

Should Anwar is able to cobble together a workable Government with a decisive economic-recovery plan (via defections), there is no way back for Umno. This will be a crying shame. Umno remains the most representative and democratic organisation. PKR has deepened racialist politics in Perak. All that Umno need to do is to cease the senseless demolition of perceived enemies within, and start winning the argument.

Supporters of Tun Mahathir (aren't we all?) who had been on the periphery of the party especially since Kubang Pasu denied him a seat as a delegate, should now return to the system to strengthen the party and accept the outcome of a clean March election. Mukhriz may or may not win such a contest but he shall remain a factor in Umno. End the sniping. Reduce internal bickering. Umno must emerge stronger.

mamasita 29 January 2009 at 14:39  

I was asked by some lady friends about Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor yesterday.
Kat Pekan dia macam mana? I said I really can't say much.

My friend said cant you all do something about her sombongness? Kalau dia marah muka dia sedepa.Dia takboleh buat masam macam tu depan orang.Dia kena senyum selalu walau dalam hati nak marah sangat.

How can we? Shes Dato'Najib's wife.
Well in that case biar kitaorang ajar dia masa pilihanraya nanti.
I said janganlah because you don't like her you nak jatuhkan Umno.

Thats the only way nak mengajar orang sombong.And they related more stories to support their opinion of her snobbishness.I don't want to dwell on it.Just nak mention the public consensus so far.

And so I hope Datin Seri Rosmah will take note yang almost 100% dalam society view her as a very very sombong lady.
I hope she'll change her ways for Umno's sake.She is the incoming PM's wife and will be the No.1 lady.
Hope she will not hentam balik orang yang menegur her.
Again, its for Umno's sake!

sepadu,  29 January 2009 at 15:34  

This is The first day I began participating in blogs.

I find that there are many concerned and well-meaning citizens in the blogosphere and
I feel a need to share my views.

The ACA has now become ACC and the DG said he would advise the UMNO leaders. Najib said UMNO delegates
prosecuted/ brought to court for money politics (only now regarded as a corrupt practice)would not be allowed to vote. The Gen Assembly is in March.

Wonder how long it would take for a). UMNO to pass to ACC the list of UMNO-investigated members/ delegates (ACC says they would wait for that) b). ACC to investigate those on the list
c). charges preferred/ personalities brought to court.

In view of above, can anyone guess how many possibly corrupt delegates would be prevented from voting at the coming Gen Assembly? Would what Najib said mean anything much on the so-called attempts to curb money politics?

UMNO must choose strong leaders if it seriously wants to tackle money politics and provide a strong leadership to the country these trying times. Indeed so, if it wants to stay relevant. For goodness sake, choose those with strength of character, high moral principles, and with "testicular fortitude" (to borrow the words of blogger KijangMas/ Deminegara).

They must choose leaders who have the political will to eradicate money politics.

Dr Mahathir has admitted in his blogs his mistakes of choosing Abdullah Badawi and Najib, of "membalas budi" Tun Razak rather than consideration on the son's leadership qualities. During the KT by-election, Najib announced the huge grant to vernacular schools - when the vernacular school system has been a strong impediment to the building of national unity and a cohesive Bangsa Malaysia.

Malays have a tendency to revere past leaders and have allowed some kind of dynasty creation, irrespective of the leadership qualities of the descendents. This feudal mentality pervades among the rank and file. And those chosen as delegates are exposed to money politics, and Najib said
that only those charged in court would be denied voting rights.

So, can anyone expect any change in the top leadership line-up as reflected by the Divisional nominations and the handing over of power to Najib in March? I think not.

What can we do to get changes for the better in this country?

We must have national unity, build a meaningful Bangsa Malaysia, respect for the Constitution and Malay rights, while at the same time respecting "the legitimate interest of the others" in ways that do not undermine those needs stated earlier.

Let's continue thinking and talking about these. Let's keep
trying to make people understand, persuade those who disagree. For those who understand the Constitution, the Social Contract etc, but simply refuse to accept them, disregard established facts and historical records, yet insist, for example, on the propagation of the national language of Mainland China and Tamil Nadu, we need to inform them that they should try to get those that they want elsewhere.

I hope to contibute to your blog in the future.

Best wishes.

Anonymous,  29 January 2009 at 17:29  

this political awareness is global, not only UMNO is facing such challenge but byevery govt. in the whole wide world....people have changed and expect change. why obama been elected ?
similarly, all we malaysians want change too but the issue here do we have quality leadership to make it happen,,,,not just any ahmat, muttu or lim but someone that really cares for the nation and not only for his bloody race/religion/madness.
unfortunately like me, most of us professionals are apolitical and don't trust most politicians but its the reality in life that such people or so called leaders are running the business of our life.
so we have to somehow now be more involved.

Mat Cendana 30 January 2009 at 00:16  

It's not just Ku Din who's unfortunate to be from Kelantan - ALL the rest have had to live in Tengku Razaleigh's shadow.

They include Annuar Musa, of course. In the eyes of many Kelantanese, at best he might be Ku Li's shoeshine boy. As a "Ku Li replacement" - HAHAHA!

BTW the only way for Umno to win Kelantan again is to wait for Pas to implode. Kalau harap puak pemimpin Umno yang ada sekarang ni kat kelantan, SORRY LAH!

There's something interesting that Mamasita mentioned about Rosmah, and how the people view her.

Yes, I know you all have to defend Umno - and that's admirable. However, you'll have to also consider how kampung folks think and feel - Is she worth sacrificing Umno the party for?

As you well know, many people make their voting decisions based on things like this alone (forget about fancy stuff and `sophisticated campaigning' with this category). They might not be in Pekan but during the elections they'll judge the local Umno candidate by how much they like Rosmah.

Unfair? Yes, it is. But that's how they'll decide anyway.

At the other end of the scale, there's Nik Aziz - and how much other Pas candidates everywhere have benefited. It's a fact that many people outside Kelantan had voted for Pas not because of their local candidate, but because of how much they like Nik Aziz.

Umno MUST unload all these burdens that are dragging it down. But can it? What can you say about a party that would not nominate Tengku Razaleigh?...but did nominate questionable and dubious others? These people have sold out Umno for a fistful of ringgits. And in March, they'll be at it again.

Anonymous,  30 January 2009 at 00:28  

And it looks like UMNO youth and Putera want to continue with the age old mnoey politics of UMNO.

Mat Cendana 30 January 2009 at 04:17  

Dehra Dun
This is an excellent comment that you've sent in - very sharp, eloquent and most probably very accurate too. I've copied the whole thing and saved it in a special file for reference in the near future. I'll certainly be using some of the points mentioned in my own understanding and interpretation of people and events.

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