KAMPAR, 29 Jan 2009: Umno will not dissolve any of the party’s wings even though the move may help check money politics, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today.
He said the three Umno wings — Wanita, Youth and Puteri — were important to the party and should be retained.
“Problems related to money politics can be dealt with using other means,” he said when asked to comment on the suggestion by Umno Disciplinary Board chair Tan Sri Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen Tengku Ismail that the party restructure its organisation by abolishing its wings to rid the party of money politics.
Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen had said that the scourge of money politics could be checked if party elections could be reduced by abolishing the wings.
Speaking to reporters after launching the Rural Action Plan at the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Air Kuning here, Abdullah, who is Umno president, said the party would introduce measures to check money politics.
“That is Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen’s view … to me, it is important to retain the Wanita, Youth and Puteri movements. There are other ways to deal with money politics.
“We are aware of the problem and will make recommendations on how to deal with it, but definitely not by way of dissolving (the three party wings),” he said.
Abdullah also said that he could understand the rationale behind the suggestion as there would be less money politics if there were less posts up for grabs.
“But this should not be to the extent of abolishing the three movements … let us not polemicize this issue,” he said.
Meanwhile in KUALA LUMPUR, Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Razak also came out against Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen’s suggestion, saying Umno will not abolish any of its wings as they are important in nurturing future leaders of the party.
“We cannot deprive them of the opportunities to show their leadership potentials.
“If they are not given the opportunities to lead, then there is no way we can develop new leaders,” he told reporters after launching the Peugeot 308 car here today.
Najib said Umno’s structure had been in existence for so long and in the case of Youth and Wanita wings, the two movements had existed since the party’s early days.
“Both wings play crucial roles in the party. The Puteri wing was set up several years ago. This is a complete structure. If there are problems related to money politics, we should instead strengthen the enforcement.
“We should also cultivate positive values among members to reject money politics. Both aspects — enforcement and positive values — should go together,” he said.
He also said that to eradicate money politics, Umno should think of ways to carry out party elections effectively.
“But a change in the structure is too drastic and will bring about major consequences. We have no plan to abolish the party’s wings,” he said.
Asked on Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali’s resignation as the Perak Umno liaison chairman, Najib said, he had yet to receive the resignation letter.
“We have not made any decisions … he is only thinking about resigning from the post,” he said. — Bernama