UMNO will scrap its controversial quota system in major reforms which will see greater participation of its members in the election of its top leaders.
Newly elected president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the party would amend its constitution at a special assembly later this year to enable this.
Najib made the proposal in his inaugural speech at the assembly.
The amendments, he said, were aimed at stamping out money politics and making the party more open, transparent and democratic.
“It is time to reform. We must change the quota system.”
Saying he would start the change with the election of the president’s post, Najib said he did not want to hide behind the quota.
“A candidate for the president’s post needs 58 nominations to be eligible to contest and it is just not possible for a challenger to get 58.
“I am willing to be the president only if the Umno members really support me,” he said.
He said the quota system should be reviewed with only a minimum requirement of nominations imposed so as to keep “jokers” out.
Najib also said that under the current practice, because there were 2,600 delegates at the Umno elections, they were able to pressure leaders to give money in return for their votes.
These leaders who were standing for elections were caught in a dilemma because beri salah, tak beri kalah (giving money is wrong but not giving will mean a loss).
He added that the small number of delegates might not even reflect the wishes and aspirations of the three million Umno members casting their votes.
Najib believed that the best way to tackle the money politics problem was to have the 191 Umno divisions pick their leaders simultaneously.
“With all the new technology, it is possible to do this and to have the 60,000 Umno members (from the 191 divisions) choose our leaders.
“Then we will really have leaders elected from the grassroots.”
Najib said a special committee would be set up to look into the amendments, adding they would discuss them with the divisions all over the country and then make recommendations to the supreme council.
The party would have to hold another assembly later this year, “so let us use that opportunity to make the party more respected.”
Source : The Star