KUALA LUMPUR, 25 March 2009: Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s call for a review in the selection of Umno leaders is likely to be followed by other Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties, analysts said.
The deputy prime minister has proposed that the right to choose party leaders be given to a greater number of members to curb money politics and abuse of power.
MCA’s Council of Elders chairperson Datuk Yap Pian Hon said that opening up the selection process to a wider section of party members was an acknowledgement of the members’ basic right.
He said that the method would also be more representative of the wishes of the grassroots who would now have the opportunity to choose their leaders.
“Under the present system, a large section of party members, especially the younger ones, may never get to become delegates,” he said.
MCA has been pushing for a similar change when its new leadership was elected to the party’s helm in October last year.
When Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat took over the MCA presidency, he was already looking at the possibility of amending party constitution to allow for direct elections of leaders.
The party, which has about the same number of delegates with Umno, was looking at ways to allow even branch members to elect the president, as opposed to the existing practice of having the delegates to represent members in the election process.
MCA is also looking at allowing the election of state chairpersons, which are now appointed by the president.
For Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), grassroots representation is never “out of its radar” as there have been suggestions to allow for a direct election of leaders or expanding the election system.
“We are still thinking about it. As a political party, we have to change and if majority of the members feel that we should do it, then why not.
“To me, there is no fixed system,” SUPP President Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam said when contacted. — Bernama