KUALA LUMPUR, 16 Oct 2009: Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said changes to Umno should not stop at the amendments to the party constitution, but should also include a transformation in the behaviour of leaders to regain the peoples’ support.
He urged leaders to do away with “paraphernalia” such as the bodyguards that prevented them from mingling with the grassroots.
“The amendments should not just stop at the party constitution. It should start with the change of personality, attitude and behaviour of the leaders.
“We need a clean slate of leaders, who are free from corruption and behaviours that are scorned by the public,” he said when asked for his comments on the amendments passed at the Umno general assembly.
A key change is to expand the number of delegates voting for the top party posts from 2,500 now to 146,500 at the divisional level.
A former party vice-president and long-serving Gua Musang Member of Parliament, Tengku Razaleigh welcomed the amendments, but felt they should go a step further by opening the election to all members.
“All members should be allowed to vote, not just the delegates. This will also check on the influence of warlords and money politics,” he said when met after delivering a keynote address in conjunction with the launch of the book Multiethnic Malaysia: Past, Present and Future, a compilation of articles by Malaysian scholars.
He also suggested that the Barisan Nasional (BN) followed the United States system in allowing the grassroots to nominate election candidates to ensure that only the best candidate that could serve the people were picked.
“They are the ones who know best the kind of people that are able to serve them well, and a candidate that can truly represent and understand the needs of the people,” he said.
In his speech, Razaleigh urged political parties to realign themselves to the peoples’ aspiration.
“It is not just Umno that needs to reform. The entire political system needs to change, to be in greater conformity with our constitution and in the spirit of Rukun Negara,” he said.
He said the people should fall back on the Federal Constitution as the basis to resolve racial disharmony. — Bernama