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Quota system robs eligible members the right to contest, says Rafidah

KUALA LUMPUR, 9 Sept 2008: The Umno election quota should be abolished is it deprives eligible members of their right to contest and it will be to the detriment of the party if aspiring candidates obtain them by way of buying, Wanita Umno chief Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz said.

"There will be people trying to do all they can to obtain the quota when in fact they are not even qualified to contest, but they have the money and they can ‘buy’ people to nominate them," she said.

Concurring with Umno disciplinary committee chairperson Tan Sri Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen Tengku Ismail that the quota system be abolished to safeguard the party from money politics, Rafidah said the system could be manipulated by people who had the money to buy nominations.

"There are also those who work very hard thinking that people will nominate them based on their work.

"But some people don’t care about their work… maybe they care about the payment," she told reporters after handing over Hari Raya goodies from Wanita Umno to the armed forces and police, here today.

Rafidah said the call scrap the quota system had been voiced out since the era of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed as Umno president to prevent individuals from attempting to get nominations to contest for two posts.

"Such was the situation then. Now it seems that because of wanting to get enough nominations, aspiring candidates are working extra hard by coming up with whatever activities to get people to nominate them.

"Now that it has come to this, I think it’s better that were reconsider the system," she said.

Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen suggested that the system be abolished, saying that ever since it was introduced two decades ago, the problem of money politics had gotten from bad to worse and was difficult to curtail.

Umno veteran Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Tapa, 85, meanwhile, said it was time for Umno to become a truly democratic party by abolishing the quota system.

He said that if the system continued, it would encourage the use of money to achieve the nomination quota and that only those with money would get the opportunity to contest and become party leaders.

"Party members at the grassroots level should also be involved in the election process, not only the delegates," he said.

Candidates should also be allowed to campaign to create a vibrant democracy in the party, said Abdul Aziz, who had been vocal against the system during his heyday in the party. – Bernama

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