KUCHING (Oct 19): United Malays National Organisation (Umno) should not be seen as a “dirty party” because all political parties have politicians who have been charged in court, said Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
The Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice president said voters in Malaysia by now should realise that it is not the party that should be seen as dirty but instead it is the politicians who are members of the party themselves that are.
“Even (opposition) parties and coalitions like the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Pakatan Harapan (PH) have politicians who are charged in court (for corruption) before this,” he told reporters today.
He pointed out another reason why parties like Umno should not be viewed as dirty was that Umno had done a tremendous role in building the nation in the past 60 years which could not be ignored.
Thus, it is not fair for a party to be judged by what its members have done, he said.
“Don’t create that kind of perception as if parties like Umno or even Bersatu (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia) are dirty. DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) also have members who were charged with corruption,” he said.
Before speaking to reporters, Abdul Karim officiated at the inauguration of the Youth and Entrepreneurs Kitchen in conjunction with the 2022 Youth Day Celebration at the Dataran Perayaan here.
He was answering a question by a reporter who asked him whether the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (in which his party PBB is a component) would work with parties like Umno in the future, despite Umno having members who were embroiled in corruption scandals.
There are several high profile cases in the country which involve not only Umno but opposition leaders as well in the country recently.
Umno member and former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was charged on July 4, 2018 and August 8, 2018 at the Sessions Court with a total of seven charges over the misappropriation of RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd.
Najib’s SRC trial began on April 3, 2019 at the High Court and a year later, he was found guilty of all charges by the High Court on July 28. He was given a RM210 million fine and sentenced to 12 years in prison as punishment.
Najib is serving his 12-year jail sentence at Kajang Prison, but has sought a royal pardon and a review of the Federal Court’s decision.
Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was first charged in June 2019 with 33 counts of receiving bribes amounting to SG$13.56 million from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd as inducement for himself in his capacity as a civil servant and the then home minister to extend the company’s contract to operate One Stop Centres and integrated visa system.
He was also charged with another seven counts of obtaining gratification in various currencies from the same company for himself in connection with his official work.
From the opposition bloc, Lim Guan Eng, who was the finance minister when PH administrated the country, was charged with using his position as Penang chief minister to receive a bribe of RM3.3 million for helping a company to obtain a construction project worth RM6,341,383,702.
The Bagan MP and DAP national chairman is also alleged to have solicited 10 per cent of the profit to be gained by the company in appreciation of obtaining the project.
Lim also faces two other charges of causing two plots of land worth RM208.8 million belonging to the Penang government to be disposed of to two companies claimed to be connected to the undersea tunnel project.
Lim’s trial began on July 13, 2021 at the Sessions Court and hearing is at the prosecution stage.