Saturday, 12 October 2013
TI-M urges a strong stand against money politics
Money politics, still being a strong determining factor in the outcome of UMNO’s General Election every year, should be banned totally by its Supreme Council. People who are found guilty of playing money politics should also be expelled permanently from the party.
The fact that money politics still exists in this year’s General Election is bemoaned by Kelantan UMNO state liaison chief, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed in an article published in Sinar Harian on October 11. This is serious, especially when it is coming from a senior cabinet minister himself; therefore, Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak should take heed to the latest revelation by the Minister of International Trade & Industry.
As a leading political party in the country, UMNO should set the example instead of trying to whitewash or justify money politics, which Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M), without hesitation, calls it the ‘Corruption, the mother of all evils.’ All UMNO members should say “NO!” to money politics.
In a democratic country, it’s the people’s votes that count; instead, by allowing money politics to prevail, the party becomes a party where only the elites – those with plenty of money to splash — can win. If UMNO Supreme Council does not therefore nip it at the bud, such practices will be carried on by the people who eventually hold senior government positions.
This will lead to an unhealthy culture, where corruption becomes the rule of the game. Corrupted politicians who rule the country will continue to ‘close an eye’ to the huge wastages that we see recently in the Auditor-General’s recent report. They will not be able to rule the country with fairness or deal with the civil servants who claim ignorance on the leakages of public funds that we are witnessing every year from the AG’s report. As a result of corruption, ultimately, it is the people who have to suffer. They pay higher prices for the goods or services rendered to the government.
In the coming UMNO Election, TI-M, therefore, urge all UMNO members to bring their cases to the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) for further investigations to be carried out, if they are aware of any attempts to buy votes using money or other sweeteners. The UMNO Supreme Council can no longer pretend that money politics is an internal issue that can only be dealt with by the Disciplinary Committee. It makes a mockery of the political party, when ‘money politics’ is considered acceptable.
Our argument is: If money politics is acceptable, why do the culprits not do it in the open? Why should the Disciplinary Committee even be bothered about investigating cases involving money politics if it is not wrong to splash money around in return for votes? It is time for UMNO Supreme Council members to face the facts that no one in this country buys the idea that money politics is an internal issue that can be dealt with only by the Disciplinary Committee.
MACC, Move In!
The MACC should also not shirk its responsibility and say that it cannot prosecute people who are ‘stupid’ or even ‘generous enough’ to give money or other sweeteners away in return for votes.
There are laws against all forms of corruption and at all levels of society, be it involving party politics of any political groups, the civil servants or even the private sector. If the MACC is serious in its anti-corruption drive, it must keep a vigilant watch over the coming UMNO Elections, and pick up cases such as those mentioned by Datuk Mustapha. They have to ensure that no political parties, including UMNO and other BN component parties, are allowed to practise money politics. It is easy to act on the Opposition, but when pressure mounts for actions taken against a political party aligned to the ruling party, it is the acid test for the MACC.
UMNO claims to be an organisation which champions Islam; therefore, its members should cast their votes based on their own conscience and after carefully evaluating the candidates’ abilities to lead the country. UMNO candidates cannot pretend that they are championing the religion, when they themselves are practising money politics.
Fighting bribery (rashwah) and corruption (fasad) is an integral part of the teachings of the Quran and hadith. Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) had said that all the parties to bribery “the bribe-taker, the bribe-giver, and their go-between,” invoke Allah’s wrath and condemnation upon themselves. It is further reported that the “Messenger of Allah cursed the donor of rashwah (corruption)and its recipient in all matters that involve a judgment or ruling”.
Najib, having said that corruption will be a thing in the past, has to start showing that he is serious about money politics within UMNO.
In one sentence – The MACC should not hesitate to prosecute anyone after they have investigated and found guilty anyone who is playing money politics. As the old adage goes, if UMNO president is serious about fighting corruption, he has to begin in his own backyard — during the coming UMNO Election. This is crucial in his fight against corruption and people are watching the coming Election.
Within the MACC’s hierarchy there is the Intelligence division which can be deployed to gather evidence that can be used to build up a case against any candidate. This is the only way we can curb corruption in the party as well as in this country, and it has to begin with the election of leaders within the country’s biggest political party.
This statement is in response to an article in Sinar Harian (October 11)
Issued by :
Dato’ Akhbar Satar, President Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Transparency International Malaysia