Zaid: Umno disciplinary board forced to prosecute selectively

(The Malaysian Insider) – The Umno disciplinary tribunal cannot function effectively as it is forced to practice selective prosecution for the benefit of certain top leaders, former de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim says.

In a press statement today, he also slammed the party for dismissing disciplinary chairman Tan Sri Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen’s suggestion to do away with the Youth, Wanita, Putera and Puteri wings of Umno.

“He is exasperated with the extent of the corruption permeating the party at all levels,” said Zaid who was sacked from Umno in December for attending PKR’s national assembly.

According to Zaid, Rithauddeen was intimating that the disciplinary board could no longer cope with the level of corruption within the party and was trying to tell the party leaders that Umno could no longer be salvaged under the present structure, “and under the present crop of leaders”.

“What makes it so difficult for the tribunal to effectively carry out its functions is the selective prosecution it must practice in the discharge of its duties. Actions can only be taken if required or useful to certain top leaders,” Zaid claimed.

Leaders of the respective wings and Umno’s top two, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi and Datuk Seri Najib Razak had categorically rejected Rithauddeen’s suggestion over the past few days, preferring to “add assistance” to the disciplinary board to expedite investigations.

But Zaid maintains that the board has no clear mandate from the party leadership to deal with money politics.

“When I was suspended for allegedly being involved in money politics, I knew that Tengku Din, although chairman, was not involved in making the decision. Someone else in the management wanted me out,” he said of his suspension when he was still Kota Baru chief.

Zaid added that Umno members will be subject to investigation “if he does not belong to the right camp” but others will “escape with impunity”.

Stating that Rithauddeen now realises the futility of his task, Zaid called on the veteran Umno man to retire and resign from the tribunal.

Zaid also sent a sarcastic warning to Umno leaders not to criticise the disciplinary board as it violated party ethics.

“Look what happened to me for criticising the tribunal and not wanting to apologise. I got suspended because they said I violated party ethics,” he said.

“So they same fate will fall on Najib and his friends in the supreme council,” he stated  sarcastically before adding that this was “wishful thinking, as there are rules in Umno that apply to some but not to others”.