PETALING JAYA: Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah today voiced his disappointment over the party’s involvement in money politics, saying it never used to tolerate immoral activities.
“We were once very sensitive to morals. If we look back, there have been several menteri besar who were sacked (due to this).
“It shows we did not allow such things to happen, especially when it touched on moral issues,” he said during a live interview on Astro Awani tonight.
The 81-year-old veteran politician is contesting for the Umno president’s post in the party’s polls on June 30.
Six others are contesting for the top post, including former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and party Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin.
Tengku Razaleigh was asked to comment on the recent scandals surrounding Umno and if the party still had the credibility to shoulder the responsibility and champion the right of Malays.
Tengku Razaleigh, who is commonly referred to as Ku Li, said in recent times even Umno division chiefs and lower-ranking members did not feel it was wrong to receive money.
“They are not as sensitive to matters of morals because they have become used to it, as if there is nothing immoral (about money politics).”
He said all previous prime ministers, including current Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had reminded Umno members not to be involved in money politics.
“When Mahathir was going to retire (in 2013), he reminded members not to get involved in money politics.
“He cried because he could not curb it. But that did not stop members. Till today we are still facing the problem.”
He said the party needed to take collective responsibility for its defeat in the May 9 general election.
“If all in the ranks of the party can clean up their act, the faster we can restore the integrity of the party.”
Tengku Razaleigh said the party was almost synonymous with the Malay community. “That is why it cannot be separated (from the Malays). That is also why I feel Umno will continue.”