“Tan Sri Isa has already been found guilty. If Umno fields him, it means that Umno is not serious about such cases. Even if he can win there, [we] have to consider what the whole of Malaysia thinks of Umno …
“One can win to become Umno president but it does not mean that he can win elections …
“A leader will not do anything to destroy the party. If you know that you are no longer qualified, for whatever reason, you stop. Don’t cling on [to the post].”
FORMER Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad expressing his view that former Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad should not be selected as the candidate for the Bagan Pinang by-election. He said people would view Umno as not being serious about fighting money politics as Isa had been found guilty of corruption.
Isa was stripped of his Umno vice-presidency after being convicted of money politics by the Umno discplinary board in 2005. His six-year suspension was commuted to three years upon appeal and ended on 23 June 2008.
(Source: Dr M: Don’t nominate Isa Samad as candidate, The Star, 18 Sept 2009)
“To be honest, Mohd Isa definitely has strong support in Bagan Pinang. He has support from voters of all ages. But if you ask me why, I don’t know …
“You can win the Bagan Pinang by-election but lose the faith of the rest in Malaysia. But at the same time, Barisan cannot afford to lose the state seat. If they can’t retain Bagan Pinang, then they should not bother thinking about the rest of the country.”
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who said that the Barisan Nasional (BN) was “almost guaranteed” a win if they fielded Isa as a candidate in the Bagan Pinang by-election. He said the BN’s chances of winning the by-election were about 60%, but that it would increase to 70% if they fielded Isa. (Source: Barisan almost has victory in hand with Isa, says Guan Eng, The Star, 28 Sept 2009)
“Now one young Umno leader has been quoted as saying that the only criterion for the selection of candidates is that they can win. This is precisely the kind of short term thinking that keeps Umno and BN on the wrong side of history, going in reverse while the Malaysian public presses ahead with demands for greater accountability and transparency …
“Beyond winning and losing political battles, the party leadership should step back and think about how their choice of candidate reflects upon the party and ultimately upon their own integrity. Nothing says more about what we stand for and who we are than the kinds of leaders we champion …
“If Umno continues to field tainted candidates, the public might justly conclude that it would be better for the country that Umno lost.”
Veteran Umno member Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, in a press statement issued on 18 Sept. The former finance minister and Gua Musang Member of Parliament said Umno leaders must be very careful in selecting the candidate for Bagan Pinang, given public perception that those in power are corrupt and “arrogant in their corruption.” (Source: What’s in a choice of candidate, razaleigh.com, 18 Sept 2009)
Meanwhile, PAS state commissioner Zulkefly Mohamad Omar said that PAS would not be fazed if Isa was fielded, and in fact “welcomed Isa’s presence”.
“Masalahnya ialah kerja [p]residen orang lain hendak buat. Kerja [p]residen, biarlah [p]residen yang buat. Kita di bahagian, buatlah kerja bahagian. Sebab itulah masyarakat jadi masalah, tak tentu arah …
“Orang tanya saya mengenai Tun Dr Mahathir, saya hanya tersenyum. Itu yang boleh saya katakan.”
Isa, saying he would leave it to Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak to make the decision on his candidacy. He said that the problem at the moment is too many other people wanted to act as the party’s president. (Source: Jangan ganggu Presiden Umno buat keputusan – Isa, Utusan Malaysia, 26 Sept 2009)
“Usahlah guna alasan politik wang dalam Umno semata-mata nak tunjuk kononnya Umno ini parti yang bersih. Kalau benar-benar jujur dan mahu ‘bersih’, mengapa sibuk nak tangkap orang yang dedahkan maklumat tentang PKFZ? Ini cuma nampak kuman di seberang laut, gajah di depan mata, pura-pura buta.
“Saya harap pucuk pimpinan Umno akan menghormati pilihan akar umbi, terutamanya Umno Bahagian Teluk Kemang, yang benar-benar mahu Isa Samad bertanding. Beri peluang kepada Isa untuk bertanding.”
PKR central leadership council member Datuk Zaid Ibrahim urges the Umno leadership in his blog to let Isa contest in Bagan Pinang. The former Umno member and minister said that corruption is endemic in Umno, and vote buying during elections has become the norm. Zaid, however, said there would be grounds to stop Isa from contesting had he been convicted of embezzling state funds while he was menteri besar. (Source: Kesian Isa Samad, Zaid Ibrahim: Keadilan Untuk Semua, 25 Sept 2009)
“Kalau sayang pada parti, janganlah begitu utamakan individu tertentu sehingga imej parti tercemar lagi. Korbankanlah sedikit supaya akhirnya parti dapat dipulih semula.”
Mahathir in his blog, Che Det, pleading with Umno to field a clean candidate for the by-election. (Source: Calon Pilihanraya, Che Det, 24 Sept 2009)
Nomination day for the Bagan Pinang by-election is on 3 Oct, while polling day is set for 11 Oct.
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