Malacca Chief Minister Knocks Out Of UMNO No.2 Race
The UMNO Disciplinary Board has knocked out Malacca Chief Minister from the UMNO Deputy Presidency race.
It bars Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam from contesting any post.
The decision is an unusual one.
Mohd Ali, the UMNO Bukit Katil division chief, was found guilty of breaching party election ethics for at least two offences of money politics before his nomination and during the current campaign period.
UMNO Disciplinary Board chairman Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen Tengku Ismail announced the "Ali shocker" at a packed press conference Tuesday (March 17,2009).
The veteran UMNO disciplinarian stated that Mohd Ali was found guilty under Article 10.1 of the UMNO members Code of Ethics for bribery and money politics committed by his agents.
Hence,Mohd Ali, an UMNO vice-president aspiring to be the UMNO deputy president and Malaysia's deputy premier is barred from contesting the UMNO No. 2 post under Clause 20.9(C) of the UMNO Constitution.
His political secretary, Saadun Basirun, was also found guilty and suspended for three years or one election term.Another two of his agents, Bukit Katil Umno division committee member Rosli Hasan and Bukit Katil Puteri wing deputy head Zalina Ismail were also similarly suspended.
Khairy Jamaluddin, the UMNO youth deputy chief and son-in-law of outgoing premier Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, was also found guilty but was let off with a warning.
He will be allowed to contest the UMNO youth chief post in a three-corner fight with Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir,son of former premier Tun Dr.Mahathir Mohamed and former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr. Mohd Khir Toyo.
Khir Toyo was cleared of any wrongdoing by the board..
The elimination of Mohd Ali now makes the contest for UMNO No. 2 spot a direct fight between two Tan Sris - International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Rural and Regional Development Minister Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib.
Mohd Ali and his supporters have appealed to the disciplinary board,Datuk Seri Abdullah and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak to allow him to contest.
But the disciplinary board's decision is firm, stresses Abdullah, under the current effort to clean up UMNO of money politics.
The Board investigated 29 people and found 15 UMNO leaders guilty of vote buying and political corruption.
Except for Mohd Ali and Khairy,those found guilty were suspended from one to three years effective March 12.
According to Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen,the board is also probing more alleged offenders.
Next week, at least 2,000 UMNO delegates will choose a new party line-up headed by Najib who has had a smooth passage to the top post under an agreed no-contest UMNO President succession plan with Abdullah handing over power to him.
Najib has tried to pacify Mohd Ali by saying that he could still keep the Malacca Chief Minister post and Malacca state UMNO chief and division chief positions though strongly insisting that UMNO must "clean up".
"If we don't change, we will be changed," warns Najib.
Explaining the common factors that a boss looks at when choosing a man for a key position as ability,acceptability, integrity and loyalty, Najib says: "For me, integrity should be put first among the factors followed by ability.
"But sometimes in practice, it is more prone to put loyalty first.
"That is so because we might feel compatible with a person who is loyal to us.
"Nevertheless,if that person is loyal but without integrity and no ability, he can bring the downfall of the boss," he adds.
Within Malaysia's top political circles,Mohd Ali, a former clerk of the Central Electricity Board now renamed as Tenaga Nasional Berhad, is not considered deputy premier or premier material.
Before his appointment as Malacca Chief Minister, he has served as Deputy Transport Minister and Deputy Health Minister.There are several more senior, mature, experienced UMNO political figures.
But he has cultivated considerable grassroot support in his climb up the political ladder.
He is president of the 4B Youth Movement,the World Youth Foundation and Dunia Melayu Dunia Islam.
However,his tendency to play to the gallery and make unwise statements have earned him a bad reputation among more sensible political leaders.
Among his verbal errors or faux pas are "DNA Testing -Take New Sample related to Anwar's sodomy case", "Mohd Ali's Folly - Get out People Progressive Party", "Become Malay Be Muslims and Talk and Practise Malay traditions" with connotations of first class(muslims) and second class(non-muslims) bumiputras, "Ali's Political Arrogance - Remove opposition party members from civil service posts","Rethink Malacca development as opposition controls Malacca city" and "Mohd Ali's Opposition to Building of New Chinese Primary Schools".
Mohd Ali's verbal slips have revealed his racist and narrow religious,educational and political worldview.
In my opinion, he is definitely a liability to the new premier.
In Malaysia, there are better and more reasonable,tolerant and understanding Malay politicians better than him in terms of intellectual capability and capacity,magnanimity and wisdom and political acumen and sensibility.
So why settle for lesser mortals like Mohd Ali though he appears so likeable with his smiling face and sweet praises to his bosses and supporters but a merciless scathing tongue on those weaker than him.
It is a blessing to Malaysia and her multi-racial,religious,cultural and faceted population that people with limited horizons like Mohd Ali is eliminated because of their wrongful acts.
Hopefully, Mohd Ali would learn a valuable lesson to be more understanding,tolerant and compassionate as a leader with a kaleidoscopic view of the new Malaysian political landscape.