If money politics is mere fantasy, then Datuk Seri Dr
Mahathir Mohamad must have been
ill-informed. There would have been no
need for him to issue so many warnings before the party elections.
There was only talk, perhaps because no
complaint was lodged or no one was caught in the act.
Money politics, it has been alleged, first
surfaced during the 1993 party polls. Till today, candidates have
privately complained of delegates who
demand money, contracts and state
It would not be realistic to expect money
politics to go away with warnings from the president. For a start, Umno members
have to change their mindset and rid
themselves of the handout
To think that money is required to do a
good political job is a flawed assumption.
One delegate openly proposed that the 165
divisions be allocated RM1mil each to enable them to conduct their
political activities better.
The Kedah Youth leader was not the only
one. A student, speaking on behalf of the overseas Umno clubs, also asked for
It has become so predictable. At every
general assembly, even before she spoke,
reporters following the debates at the media centre all forecast correctly that she
would ask for subsidy.
She revealed how Parti Keadilan Nasional
campaigners, who appear to have the financial means, had travelled to
Europe to preach reformasi.
The student blamed the Government's delay in sending their scholarship money as
a cause for the Opposition gaining
support among students overseas.
That's a lame excuse. One Barisan Nasional component party with an
overseas club is so resourceful that it
runs a newsletter for Malaysians, fully sponsored by travel agencies and phone companies.
The club also helps Malaysians who run
foul of the law there or encounter money
problems all that without a
single sen from party
Money is certainly needed to run the operations of a modern political party effectively.
Even the opposition parties, judging from
the number of posters, banners and flags put up during last year's polls, must have
spent quite a bit.
But there is no guarantee that money will
win votes, at least in a general election. It is not a way to win the hearts and minds of
The Kuomintang, reputed to be the richest
party in the world, lost in the Taiwan election. It was the same with
cash-rich Golkar in Indonesia.
Umno leaders have to lead by example if
they want party members and the public to believe that they are serious in
fighting money politics.
They should stop flaunting their wealth, for
one. A reporter cynically described the
parking area at the Pan Pacific Hotel as having the “larget number of
luxury cars in the smallest area in
Malaysia'' during the general assembly.
It'd be nice to see Protons in the area for a