Bureaucracy and restriction are probably elements that could prove to be counter productive, especially for many who are motivated to circumvent the system and get to their objective.
Many UMNO leadership aspirants in the upcoming party election are complaining that the current ‘Candidate Introduction’ practice is very inhibitive and restrictive. More over in their limited opportunity due to the short period of campaign and geography. Instead, many of these candidates wanted to meet delegates at Division or Branch levels on their own time and space.
The practice that UMNO democratization is supposed to do away with the practice of ‘money politics’, where over 146,000 delegates at Branch level are casting their votes instead of the slightly over 2,400 delegates. However, the current system of ‘electoral college’ based on the 191 UMNO Divisions nationwide provide a new opportunity of corrupting the democratic process.
The current system and limited and inhibitive campaign system enabled new methods to circumvent and started to crawl its ways to ensure some politicians’ survival are followed through.
Unconfirmed reports rumoured about one or two amongst the six Vice President aspirants have appointed ‘agents’, to campaign on their behalf. These agents are said to have been dishing out ‘duit minyak’ (petrol allowance), to some of the Branch level delegates that they meet.
So far, no official reports have been filed to the UMNO Disciplinary Board or Election Committee.
In the past, party elections campaign period are much longer. Like the last party election held on March 2009, the campaign started since six months earlier. The lengthy campaign period provided a lot of opportunities for ‘money politics’.
For the record, two of the current candidates for Vice Presidents were reprimanded by UMNO Disciplinary Board. During the 2009 party election then Deputy President aspirant Dato’ Seri Mohd. Ali Rustam was reprimaded by the Disciplinary Board and had to drop out of the race.
Tan Sri Isa Samad won first place as UMNO Vice President in the September 2004 party election. However, a few months later UMNO Disciplinary Board found him guilty in seven accounts of ‘money politics’ and was stripped off his Vice Presidency post and suspended for six years. Later, the suspension was reduced to three years only. When he was pitted as BN candidate for DUN Bagan Pinang by-election in September 2009, the decision was questioned by so many.
Two other aspirants of top posts in UMNO are deemed to be or were once tainted. The incumbent Wanita UMNO Chief Dato’ Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and UMNO Youth Head Khairy Jamaluddin have had issues about their integrity.
Probably these rumours would not turn out to be officially true. However, UMNO must be kept out of tainted leaders to ensure the relevance in the age of transparency, demand for integrity, accountability and credibility matters, to represent the Malays in the years to come.