Monday, June 2, 2008

Mukhriz: Some Umno leaders blocked new members

Mukhriz: Some Umno leaders blocked new members

(MalaysianInsider) KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 — As Umno members discuss the applications of three former Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leaders to join the party there are also those who allude to the difficulty of ordinary people becoming members.

They charge that Umno is an elitist organisation that only allows certain people to join it while applications from others can take months if not years to be accepted.

Umno Youth executive council member Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said this was due lower echelon leaders who blocked certain applications as they were worried that their standing would be affected with the inclusion of new members.

"There have been many such instances. Don't assume that by filling a form, paying the RM1 membership fee, you can be an Umno member. Applications that I myself sent through the Jitra (Kedah) division in 2000 took six months to be accepted," Mukhriz said.

He said normally the problem arises when the applicant is a young person who is successful either in business or in education.

"Recently when I was in Malacca, some people told me they only got accepted before the general election although they had applied six years ago," said the Jerlun MP.

Elaborating, Mukhriz said as a matter of policy, to join Umno a person had only to fill a form, pay the RM1 membership fee and get the endorsement from the branch leadership.

"There should not be elements of bureaucracy as Umno is an open party for all Malays and the issue of difficulty in obtaining membership should not arise," he said.

There are some, he said, who join opposition parties after being frustrated at not gaining membership in Umno which they label as “elitist”.

"As far as I know, joining opposition parties is very easy, some do it online. Umno should also be like that," he said.

Umno Cheras division chief Senator Datuk Syed Ali Alhabshee admits hearing such complaints.

"I have heard of application forms being stuck at certain branches. Don't know why?" he said.

He did not reject the possibility there were leaders who worried that their position would be adversely affected by new members, saying the issue should be addressed as it prevented the entry of new members especially the young.

"What is there to fear? To me if a leader discharges his duties and responsibilities sincerely he has no reason to be worried if people want to join Umno," he said.

However, he said, if there were former opposition party members, especially former Umno members, who wanted to re-join Umno they have to go through a different process.

"They should be called for an interview by the party's management committee and be questioned about their intention to re-join Umno. We do not want them to become thorns in the flesh," he said.

He was referring to the applications by the former PKR Youth chief Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor and former Permatang Pauh PKR division chief Anuar Shaari, who had left Umno to join the opposition party.

Syed Ali said if both these leaders were accepted easily by the Umno leadership there would be disaffection among members who had been loyal to the party despite being disciplined.

It was strange that such a situation happened only in certain states whereas in Johor, Umno membership was almost automatic.

"In Johor, if the parents are Umno members, the children will surely be members," said a Johor Umno member who did not want to be identified.

He said it was the parents who would register their children’s membership as soon as they qualified.

"In Johor, becoming an Umno member is almost a culture. It's strange if one is not a member," said the member.

Umno has more than three million members, making it the largest Malay political party in the country. — Bernama

No comments: