(Updated 5:46pm, 31 March 2009)
KUALA LUMPUR, 31 March 2009: Several Umno leaders are being investigated for alleged money politics in the run-up to the Umno general assembly last week, said a member of the party’s Disciplinary Board Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas.
He said the probe was carried out by officers of the board’s investigation unit.
“I don’t have the detail but I was made to understand that there are indeed investigations being carried out on a number of cases, including top posts,” he said.
He was speaking to reporters after tabling a working paper at the “Anti Corruption Summit – Zero Tolerance for Corruption” organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute and Transparency International Malaysia here.
Megat Najmuddin said he was not directly involved in the investigation because as board members cannot be the investigators, prosecutors and jurists at the same time.
He said action would be taken on anyone found to have breached party discipline.
“If we have proof we will call them to testify but we need strong evidence otherwise it will be difficult for us to act,” he said.
He also said that there was nothing wrong with treating a person to a meal or paying for someone’s fuel as long as there was no ulterior motive in doing so.
“The amount of bribe is not important. The measure of culpability lies in the intention. If you give RM50 to buy votes, it is political corruption or money politics,” he said.
Megat Najmuddin also welcome Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s proposal to restructure the Umno Disciplinary Board to strengthening it further.
“This is a good suggestion as we don’t have enough manpower. Umno is a big party with over three million members, so we need to increase our capacity accordingly,” he said.
Earlier when tabling his working paper titled “Conflicts of Interest – The Latent Part of Corruption”, Megat Najmuddin said it was important that the board was free of interference from party leaders.
“We have retired from politics and we have no more interest in it. At a meeting with the powers-that-be in the party, we told them that if you interfere, we will resign en-bloc,” he said.
Describing political corruption as “the mother of all corruptions”, Megat Najmuddin said the people could still take comfort from the fact that corruption at the moment was “only a fact of life and not a way of life.”
He outlined five aspects needed to combat corruption, namely better enforcement, better pay for government servant, lesser bureaucracy, transparency in political funding, and continuous anti-corruption education.
He also said that being the advisor to several universities, he found that corrupt practices were also taking place in institutions of higher learning.
“These includes plagiarism, and in awarding contracts,” he said, adding that the trend was a cause for concern at a time when universities were heading towards greater autonomy. — Bernama