Money politics, the scourge of UMNO party politics.These high stakes games of getting elected into the 'hall of shame' in the top echelon of the party is getting dirtier and messier at every party elections.Buying and selling favours have become a trade able commodity with some throwing in the flesh trade as part of the package.It is rumoured that in past elections some delegates were offered the services of female companion for the night as added incentives.How far this is true is as good as the question everyone is asking now, who ordered the killing of Altantuya ? If not Razak Beginda, than who ? It sounds more like he got off on technicality as the honourable judge had said the prosecution failed to make a prima facie case.
Money politics have existed for yonks and practised everywhere including the so-called purest democracy, the US.The on going presidential election would be completely paralysed without huge donations from party supporters,businessmen, corporations and would-be opportunists.The difference between the West and here is they have refined the art of money politics.All donations to the candidate must be declared, giving particulars of amount and name of donors.This is for the purpose that the person elected into office will not use or abuse his power to favour those who have donated to his campaign funds.Undeclared donation is illegal and can get the candidate into serious trouble with the law or get impeach from office or both.
Politics in the West is not as clean as one would like to think.Many high ranking politicians have been caught for corruption.One recent case is Ted Stevens, a US Senator from Alaska who received money and gifts and didn't declare it.He is now under indictment for corruption.
The difference again between the West and Malaysia is, in the West, nobody gets protection from prosecution, no matter how high up the person is, including the President, no special treatment or immunity is given to them.In Malaysia, the Prime Minister is still percieved to be calling the shot who should be prosecuted and who shouldn't.This may be mere perception but as long as the ACA is not independent such negative perception would continue.
Money politics in UMNO is of the crudest form, completely unrefined and wrapped up in secrecy, a story of cloak and dagger that shows the highest order of political immaturity.Even worse, where money can't buy favours those involved resort to using coercion, threat including death threat,intimidation,blackmail and bodily harm if all other methods failed to do the job.
Lynn Pan would have better describe the functions of this kind of gangsterism in her book 'Gangsters In Paradise' in old Shanghai, where the whole city was governed under the influence of gangsters and secret societies.
The brand of money politics in UMNO has its roots in Sabah, where it started long time ago during Mustapha rule.During his time they either paid money or gave other form of incentives to buy votes especially in areas where opposition is strong.If money didn't work, than coercion and intimidation were the formula used.This kind of political gangsterism can, sometimes, bring in votes for those who had the gumption to use it.
Money politics reached its peak under Berjaya when it has to fight USNO and PBS.Cash,water tanks and zinc roofing materials were the favourites among villagers who would take from all who were stupid enough to give.
In the 1985 State Elections money politics didn't work when most Sabahans were fed up with the autocratic rule of Chief Minister Harris Salleh.In spite of the fact that his party Berjaya spent million, it was badly trashed, won only 5 seats out of 48.Newly formed PBS got a simple majority and reneged on its promise to form a coalition with USNO, who got significant number of seats to be a partner in the government. Sentiments of the people plus money politics were instrumental for the victory to PBS as most big Chinese businesses secretly donated money to PBS at that time.
Money politics in UMNO started when Mahathir was prime minister.Before him, such f... words were unheard of. During Tengku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Hussein Onn rule there was not an ounce of money politics, most politicking were above board,untainted and dignified.
Mahathir was not personally involved in money politics or even encourage it but where he failed miserably was he didn't take any action to nip it in the bud which he could have done so much easier in the beginning.
Umno disciplinary chairman Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen said The problem began about two decades ago, worsened over the years and was now showing no sign of getting any better.
"We are trying our best, but it seems we can't deal with it completely. It is now rooted to the core," he admitted.
I would say it is rotten to the core because even the top leadership are indulging in it but are pretending to making speeches against it to divert attention away from their own dubious ways.
Tengku Rithauddeen said money politics was becoming a norm in the party as all those who indulged normally benefited from it.
Money politics intensified under Abdullah Badawi because of his weak leadership.The jockeying for positions had become very expensive affairs with money spent in the millions.One divisional head in Sabah have been rumoured to spend RM3 million just to become head of a division.The stakes is high but the reward is higher.Becoming division head means tens of million of government contracts given as reward.
The leaders in UMNO should stop pretending.They have no serious desire to stamp out money politics.Some of them are just as much involved in it as the 'kuching kurap' at the lower ranks.
Although I am not a member of UMNO I support the idea of a debate between Khairy Jamaluddin and Mukriz Mahathir for the UMNO Youth Chief post.This is one way you can reduce money politics and use merits to select your leaders.Mukriz should not shy away from the challenge, it is the right platform to show your capability.
Anyway, who gave those idiots the money to play money politics, if not the top leadership?