KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 7 — Former deputy prime minister Tun Musa Hitam said Umno needs to put aside its leaders who are facing criminal charges, until proven innocent, as a means to revitalise the party.
In an interview with Utusan Malaysia’s Sunday edition Mingguan Malaysia, Musa who was an Umno deputy president, said when the party decides to take a principled stance on the issue, only then public trust can be regained.
“Firstly, Umno has to take the stance that whoever is related to [criminal] charges in court, has to be put aside until they can prove their innocence. Only with that can the public respect us,” he was quoted saying, referring to Umno.
In the interview, Musa also explained that severe infighting within Umno has caused the party to be splintered into three factions.
One faction he described as Umno puritans who believe in the spirit of the party, the second faction are those who side with the party leaders such as its current president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamid, and the third consists of capable leaders that were not given the opportunities to step forward.
Musa explained that another step to allow the party to regain public trust is also to allow young and capable leaders to lead the party.
Commenting on the current political “musical chairs” affecting the country, Musa expresses his disgust, stating politicians who switch sides are making a mockery of national politics.
“I’m bored of the whole situation. I said once that what are you politicians doing, it is as if you are all ‘pretend playing cooking’ in politics. They are fooling around with politics, for their own interest.
“They are not politicking for national interest but their own survival,’’ Musa reportedly said.
Musa then attributed the issue to the politics of money, an ideology that is gaining momentum when any general election looms.
“With the issue of switching parties that is out of control now, in my opinion it’s not about politics or ideology. If it can be an ideology by gaining money, it could be the ideology of money. That is possibly what is happening now.
“Some said that the reward now is no longer small like in the past. This sort of situation will become more often when a general election is near,” he reportedly said.
In Umno, its former president Datuk Seri Najib Razak was found guilty of seven charges involving money laundering, abuse of power, and money laundering over RM42 million of SRC International funds.
His wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor is on trial for allegedly soliciting RM187.5 million in bribes and receiving RM6.5 million in bribes related to a solar energy project in Sarawak.
Others facing charges include current president Zahid who faces 47 charges related to corruption, criminal breach of trust, and money laundering concerning funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi, as well as former Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor who was found guilty of a RM2 million graft charge.