KUALA LUMPUR, 22 Dec 2008: The Umno Disciplinary Board today refuted an allegation by the Association of Former Elected Representatives (Mubarak) that the board dragged its feet over action against complaints of money politics and corruption in the party.
Board chairman Tengku Tan Sri Ahmad Rithauddeen Tengku Ismail circulated to the media a six-page document containing the dates of meetings of the investigation panel, tribunal and appeals panel, and said the documentary evidence was proof that the board did not delay investigations.
He said the investigation panel met 39 times between 29 Jan and 16 Dec this year to look into cases involving 39 divisions; the tribunal met 10 times to hear the cases of 25 divisions; and the appeals panel met twice to hear the cases involving two divisions.
“You can see for yourselves from these statistics, and I refute the allegation of Mubarak. The disciplinary board members have even to be away from their homes for a day or two to look into these cases. And, they claim that we are not working.
“I feel hurt. It is easy for them to talk. The members of the disciplinary board are not young people. It is not easy for us to find (select) them. They have to be veterans, honest and dedicated in their service to the party and country,” he told reporters here.
Mubarak, in a statement on 19 Dec, claimed that the delay of the disciplinary board in investigating the cases seemed to imply that the board wanted the complaints to be forgotten over time.
Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen said the board worked not only in Kuala Lumpur but also in the states because of the cost involved for the complainants and witnesses to travel to the party headquarters in the federal capital.
He also said that the board did not want complaints based on hearsay and had to ensure that every complaint was genuine and not evil-intended.
At the same time, the board also wanted to study the demeanour of the witness to determine the authenticity of the complaint, he added.
Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen said 11 new members had been appointed to the disciplinary board in the past week to expedite investigations and hearing of cases, bringing the total number of members to 25.
He said these new members were former judges, former Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) personnel, former police officers and ex-service personnel.
On the allegation by Machang Member of Parliament Saifuddin Nasution Ismail of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) of the existence of money politics at the level of the Umno deputy presidency, Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen said only Umno members could lodge complaints on alleged irregularities in the party.
“It is up to him (if he wants to report to the ACA). I cannot advise him. He should know what to do,” he said. — Bernama