Najib Promise To Reform UMNO

KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA'S prime minister promised on Tuesday to reform his ruling Malay party to stamp out deep-seated corruption and make it more acceptable to ethnic minorities in efforts to revive ailing support.

Najib Razak said the United Malays National Organisation, which began its four-day annual congress on Tuesday, would radically change the way it elects its leaders as it seeks to 'eradicate money politics' and restore its credibility.

Party delegates are expected to approve the reforms on Thursday.

Umno is the linchpin of the National Front governing coalition, which has governed Malaysia since 1957 but suffered its worst results ever in March 2008 general elections under public perceptions of corruption and racial discrimination.

The opposition won slightly more than one-third of Parliament's seats.

Umno officials acknowledge the system of electing party leaders has bred a culture of patronage, with candidates sometimes offering bribes in return for votes. -- AP

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