Laman Webantu   KM2A1: 4792 File Size: 6.8 Kb *

TheAge: Mahathir Corruption Crackdown
By Mark Baker

21/6/2001 10:32 pm Thu

[Mahathir masih menyimpan dan memberi kedudukkan yang tinggi kepada mereka yang kontroversi agar mudah diperkuda dan dicucuk hidung mereka. Lagipun mereka dihukum di dalam Umno sahaja dan terus disimpan kerana kerusi dan undi serta pengaruh mereka yang lebih disayang. Ahli Umno begitu mudah tertipu sedangkan Mahathirlah bapak korupsi nombor satu. Kes Ali Abul Hassan sahaja sudah cukup untuk membuktikan bahawa Mahathir sebenarnya seorang kaki temberang. Apa yang disauk oleh Daim cumalah garam tetapi Mahathir membolot semua intan kerana semua kunci kekayaan di dalam negara kini hanya dipegang oleh dirinya seorang. Malangnya ahli Umno begitu cepat melupakan inilah tangan yang membuat Petronas berlubang tanpa dipertanggungjawabkan.
- Editor

Mahathir corruption crackdown



Thursday 21 June 2001

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has ordered a renewed crackdown on corruption in the ruling United Malays National Organisation before a party congress seen as critical for the future of his 20-year rule.

Dr Mahathir warned a private meeting of senior members and officials that the party must be seen to be serious about removing corrupt leaders to staunch the erosion in its electoral support.

He accused some party members of being more interested in making money than upholding UMNO's goals and said they were buying votes to ensure they won positions in which they were free to enrich themselves.

The UMNO disciplinary board has suspended 12 members this month for alleged vote-buying and abuse of power and has reprimanded another nine. The 12 will be barred from holding party office for up to six years.

The anti-corruption crackdown is seen as crucial to Dr Mahathir's efforts to strengthen the party, which has had a dramatic slide in electoral support since the jailing three years ago of his former deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, on discredited sex and corruption charges, and a series of scandals involving senior officials.

UMNO's vote among its traditional Malay support base fell sharply during last year's national elections - much of it captured by the Islamic party, PAS - and the party later suffered a humiliating byelection defeat in Dr Mahathir's home state of Kedah.

The corruption issue is likely to be the dominant theme at the four-day meeting of UMNO's supreme council, which begins today. The congress is regarded as an opportunity for Dr Mahathir to reassert his leadership after the resignation last week of Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin.

Mr Daim - regarded as one of the few Malay leaders still able to challenge the Prime Minister - is believed to have quit after increasing disagreements over economic management. But there are signs that Dr Mahathir may be moving to paint the departure of his former protege as part of his party clean-up.

Mr Daim, reportedly Malaysia's richest man, is a close associate of two tycoons whose companies were beneficiaries of recent expensive government rescue packages that sparked widespread public criticism.

In response to rampant speculation that police were preparing to lay corruption charges against Mr Daim, Dr Mahathir told journalists that he was not under investigation - then said police may have interviewed him, fuelling the rumor.

At Tuesday's private party meeting, Dr Mahathir said it was vital for all party members to accept the disciplinary verdicts to prove to the Malaysian people that UMNO was serious about ridding itself of corrupt leaders.

But critics remain sceptical that the anti-corruption drive will amount to more than window-dressing. Corruption and nepotism is pervasive in a system where senior party officials control government contracts and routinely favor their families and friends.

Dr Mahathir's son, Mokhzani Mahathir, sold substantial business interests and resigned as treasurer of UMNO's youth wing in April, claiming "wild allegations" of favoritism in awarding government projects had damaged him and his father.

UMNO targets corruption

Development: The deputy prime minister of Malaysia, Abdullah Badawi, has told an assembly of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) that it will become "weak and impotent" if it does not get rid of corruption within its ranks.

Assessment: Badawi was addressing the organisation's youth wing on the even of the organisation's three-day general assembly. He said: "Today [there is] this belief among our members that winning divisional elections guarantees fortune. It is a belief we must eliminate... It is time now for us to separate politics from business."

The UMNO leadership is evidently rattled by the damage corruption, or the perception of corruption, could have on its electoral prospects in 2004. One of Mahathir Mohamad's sons has recently divested himself of his business interests in an attempt to put his public life beyond suspicion and it is a theme Mahathir himself has addressed recently on a number of occasions.

The next elections promise to be the closest fought in Malaysia for a long time, and all parties, not just the UMNO, are vying for support outside their usual ethnic and social constituencies. The Islamic party, for instance, has recently been trying to court the Chinese vote. The UMNO is still expected to win the 2004 elections, but its stranglehold on Malaysian politics appears to be weakening.

Earlier this month Mahathir's finance minister Daim Zainuddin resigned for unexplained reasons. He had been criticized for approving plans to bail out Malay tycoons, and Mahathir is now reviewing some of these. Daim and Mahathir were long-time allies and were instrumental in creating a strong Malay business class over the last twenty years.

Now that policy of racial preference is blamed for creating a culture of crony capitalism, centred on the UMNO. The measures the party takes to reverse the adverse political effects of this policy and to win back support that has gone to the Keadilan, the party led by the wife of Mahathir's jailed rival, Anwar Ibrahim, and the Islamic opposition, will determine the shape of Malaysian politics in the post-Mahathir era.