Umno beyond reform by leaving Najib out of criticism, Kit Siang says

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang speaks to Malay Mail during an interview in Sheraton, Petaling Jaya May 27, 2018. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang speaks to Malay Mail during an interview in Sheraton, Petaling Jaya May 27, 2018. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang today expressed surprise over why former Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been spared the same lashing currently being given to his successor, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, by the party’s members.

In a statement today, the Iskandar Puteri MP said that this would mean that Umno simply cannot reform itself.

“If this is the case, then Umno could not be reformed at all,” the veteran statesman said.

“I am surprised that while pressures for Zahid to resign as Umno president has mounted, no one in Umno, whether individuals, branches or divisions, dared to raise the subject of Najib and his kleptocractic government in the current debate on the future of Umno.

“It would appear that  the pressure for Zahid to resign as Umno president has nothing to do with any awareness in Umno to dissociate itself and to repudiate Najib and the 1MDB scandal, as well as to transform Malaysia from a global kleptocracy into a leading nation of integrity, but a mere power struggle in Umno,” Lim also said.

This week alone, two of Umno’s state Youth wings in Sabah and Alor Setar had openly called for the Bagan Datuk MP to resign.

Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin called for fresh Umno elections even, amid a stream of lawmakers quitting the beleaguered Opposition party, which many party leaders blamed on Zahid Hamidi’s leadership. 

Previously, Umno Youth had urged Zahid to go on leave from party duties until his case is settled, but it was alone in doing so.

Zahid is currently facing 46 criminal charges.

He was most recently slapped with an additional criminal breach of trust (CBT) charge over the alleged misappropriation of funds from charity foundation Yayasan Akalbudi, bringing the total charges against the former Deputy Prime Minister to 46. 

In his statement today, Lim also defended a statement he made yesterday, ostensibly in support of Umno members exiting the party.

“These press were wrong, for I did not contradict myself in these two statements,” he said.

“I pointed out in Ipoh that forty years ago on March 21, 1978, I moved a private member’s bill entitled Members of Parliament (Prevention of Defection) Act 1978 to ensure political integrity of Members of Parliament, which would require a Member of Parliament to vacate his seat within 30 days and cause a by-election to be held on his resignation or expulsion from the Party on whose ticket he was originally elected.

Lim said he had told Parliament then, that such a legislation was crucial to ensure political integrity of elected MPs, and to stop “political corruption”.

He stood firm that the defection of lawmakers from the party they represented in elections, is “most undesirable and unethical” because their constituencies voters had given them a mandate.

“Such practices also permit elected politicians to be bought and sold as if they are on the market place.

“If an elected MP resigns or is expelled from the party on whose ticket he was originally elected, then he should resign his seat and cause a by-election to be held. If the resignation and expulsion is over a matter of political principle which has the support of the people, then the MP or State Assemblyman concerned should have no qualms about getting re-elected,” he added.