Umno cleansing might end up being toxic, fears expert

27 Jan 2023 08:45am
Photo for illustrative purposes only - FILE PIX
Photo for illustrative purposes only - FILE PIX
SHAH ALAM - After suffering a huge loss in the 15th General Election (GE15), Khairy Jamaluddin, or more popularly known as KJ, has once again come under the spotlight due to the controversial motion that was passed at the 2022 Umno General Assembly (PAU).

It all started when the former Rembau MP claimed that there ‘import representative’ brought in to vote for the additional motion that sought for the Umno president and deputy president not to be contested.

Khairy, who is also the former Umno youth chief, claimed most of the name tags reserved for Umno representatives on the seats in Dewan Merdeka were removed to make way for the said ‘import representation’ to vote for the motion.

As a result of the allegations, the Umno Supreme Council (MKT) will decide Khairy's fate, whether he will be subject to disciplinary action or vice versa.

Some political experts opined that MKT's action can be seen as a ‘cleaning process’ within the party.

However, can this cleaning process be considered the best mechanism to integrate and re-establish the party that split after GE15, or is it feared to be toxic enough to destroy Umno from within?

The top leader of Umno should use their wisdom to accept reprimands generously and strive to strengthen the party.

"On the contrary, if they are the ones who reprimand for the sake of goodness, it is considered to be against the leader who is clear and who is not bring exemplary leadership, this is rhetoric and a toxic form that will ruin the party," the National Deputy Director of Ethnic Studies Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Professor Dr Kartini Aboo Talib said to Sinar Premium on Thursday.

She said the cleaning process should be implemented, especially if its aim is to clean the party from corruption.
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Separately, speaking on whether the two highest positions of the party should be contested, Kartini believes that it should be open to competition among party members in order to nourish the practice of democracy.

"Supposedly all the highest positions can be contested for internal change to happen. Naturally it will enrich and strengthen the party with youths," she said.

Kartini stressed that the party’s continuity, led by an authoritarian leadership, will not thrive.

Political analysts were also concerned about the cleaning process happening in the party as it could lead to a severe party leadership crisis.

Head of Department of Relations International Sultan Zainal University Abidin (UniSZA) Dr Hussain Yusri Zawawi said any party has the right to take disciplinary action against members who disobeys and does not accept any decision that has been made legally.

He added that an internal crisis will arise when the party's decision does not uphold the party’s constitution.

"Preferably, members who are not satisfied with the motion may refer to the Registrar of Societies (RoS) for certainty whether the motion is made legally or otherwise," he said.

Hussain added that all Umno members can speak up and express their views democratically by going through legitimate channels as required by the party constitution.

"But at the same time, members should be aware that if they disobey the instructions of the party leadership, they will be subject to disciplinary action regardless of their position," he said.

The decision for a motion in a party involves consent from members, whether they agree or not, he added.

"If the proposal is accepted through the institutional process, then the members should comply and accept the decision.

"Agree or disagree, it is individual rights that should not influence other members," he emphasised.