KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — Any Umno leaders facing charges in court should step down or distance themselves from the party since they would leave a negative impression among the people, former Umno vice president Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib said today.
In a report by Mingguan Malaysia, Muhammad said it was Umno’s party tradition whereby any party leaders charged in court will voluntarily resign and they could re-apply to return to the party’s fold after the conclusion of their trial and subsequent acquittal.
He said the failure of leaders to do so could significantly affect the Malay party’s reputation and subsequently erode public support.
“I think, if according to Umno’s tradition, if the person is charged before a court, they will resign.
“That is Umno’s tradition. They should ‘rest’ and previous leaders were all like this. But now I see whether those in the government or Opposition, even when they have ongoing trials, remain leaders,” he was quoted as saying.
Muhammad said such measures were crucial to uphold credibility as this would affect investors’ confidence towards the country’s stability.
“Foreigners, for example, including embassies, stress on such matters. For example, foreign embassies along with their own intelligence, will conduct political analysis and then distribute said analysis to those doing business here in Malaysia.
“In the analysis they will study the country’s ongoing development. On the matter of credibility, indirectly, if they are compromised they will submit a report. This affects foreign investments,” he said.
In a separate report, Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said candidates over the age of 65 should not be stopped from contesting the elections merely because of the age factor.
He said if a candidate had influence and was winnable, then it would be wise for them to continue serving their constituents.
Nazri said what mattered most in politics is winning seats in Parliament and state assemblies and therefore age should not be an issue.
“I agree that the youth should be given the opportunity to become a candidate. Take for example, myself, when I was given the chance to serve as senator by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“Whoever is young, shows potential and experience, we have to give them the chance to contest.
“The problem however was voters wanting said candidate and we cannot stop them.
“We must allow the people to choose because this is their will for as long as they wish for their candidate to contest,” he was quoted as saying by Mingguan Malaysia.
He added that voters should not be punished by exclusively fielding young candidates as a democratic system allows for freedom of choice.