PETALING JAYA: Umno members facing charges in court should either quit the party or take a leave of absence as they have created a “bad impression” among the rakyat, says former Umno vice-president Muhammad Muhammad Taib.
He said failure to do so would adversely affect the reputation of the party which can also result in reduced public support.
Muhammad, who is Selangor Umno adviser, said it was the party’s culture in the past for leaders charged in court to step down from their positions until their cases are concluded.
“This has been Umno’s tradition. They must settle their cases and be freed before they can return to the party.
“The current leaders in this kind of situation must take a break, like how past leaders used to.
“But now, leaders facing criminal charges, whether in the government or the opposition, continue to be leaders,” he told Utusan Malaysia in an interview.
Muhammad admitted there was no such provision in the party’s constitution for leaders to step down but said past leaders had done so voluntarily to keep Umno’s integrity intact.
“Such leaders stepping aside and withdrawing from the party temporarily will safeguard the party’s credibility.
“This will also have an effect on the confidence of foreign investors as their main concern will be our integrity and political stability,” he told the Malay daily.
The former Selangor menteri besar said foreign missions here would also be doing their own intelligence and reporting back to their governments on these matters that affect political stability and the integrity of the government.
He said the foreign diplomats in the country have officers who study the political happenings and report back to their governments. These intelligence reports are also passed on to the trade and investment bodies.
“For example, Malaysian missions abroad have their own intelligence units which constantly analyse the political situations there and report back to the authorities here.
“These reports will indicate if the governments are compromising on their integrity with certain political actions.”
He said investors will shy away if these reports are negative, adding that Malaysia needed foreign investments for its continued growth.