“Corruption disrupts the entire governmental process, underminds morality and erodes ethical behaviour.”
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, in an address at the 5th Developing Eight (D8) Summit, on 13 May 2006. The call was aimed at Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) member states (Source: PM: Muslim nations must check corruption, Star, 14 May 2006).
Abdullah, also Umno president, promised to clean up endemic corruption when he became prime minister. While that pledge remains largely undelivered in the final weeks of his premiership, Abdullah still appears set on reform and managed to set up the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
“As party members, we must view this problem seriously and I regard Umno now (as) being in a danger zone if money politics continues unabated.”
Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, underlining his party’s need to weed out corruption within its ranks, adding that “the situation must be corrected before the next general election.” (Source: Muhyiddin: Vote-buying rampant in Umno, Malaysiakini, 11 Aug 2008).
Notably, Umno is the sole Barisan Nasional component party overtly addressing internal corruption. In January 2009, Umno disciplinary board chairperson Tengku Tan Sri Ahmad Rithauddeen called for the abolishment of three main party wings to this end.
“It looks like the commission is discharging its role as anticipated because its duty is to curb corruption. And its recent action involving several people from Umno is proof that it has the freedom and it acted freely.”
Abdullah, commenting on the fact that one the MACC’s first investigations was into Umno itself. He asserted that the move could be viewed as “action aligned to Umno’s desire to eradicate corruption.” (Source: MACC Action Aligned To Umno’s Desire — Abdullah, Bernama, 24 Jan 2009)
Some Umno members were not happy.
“Whoever wants to join Umno is welcome to do so. We accept them into Umno and BN so that they will gain new experience in fighting for our struggles. When we want to increase the party’s membership, we open it to all.”
Abdullah, in welcoming Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) assemblypersons rumoured to be crossing over to Umno (Source: “Defection” drama in Perak, New Straits Times, 2 Feb 2009).
Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Capt (R) Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu, the PKR representatives in question, are set to face graft charges in the Ipoh Session Court come 10 Feb.
“Two people are accused of corruption. If you bring in corrupt people before they are found not guilty that is not going to improve the quality of the party. You want to accept people who want to jump into your party, you need to know the quality of the person also.”
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. (Source: Bad idea to bring people of poor quality: Dr M, Bernama as reported in The Nut Graph, 4 Feb 2009).
Both Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman eventually left PKR to become independents, but are “friendly” to the BN.