Tuesday, 24 September 2013
Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) urges that the upcoming UMNO election should break away from past practices where money politics has become rampant and plaguing the country’s largest political organisation.
If in the past, this phenomenon became an “open secret” that was tolerated, there should now be a zero tolerance for it. TI-M also calls on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to act against both the givers and takers, without fear or favour, should bribes be offered in return for votes. The party’s rule does not allow dinner functions to be organised during the lead up to the UMNO election should be strictly adhered to. Money, gifts or kinds should not be given out in return for votes.
It is better to nip corruption at the bud by getting down to the core. In Malaysia, money politics is in fact the mother of all corruption. By using money to buy votes, these candidates stay in power, to rake in more money. Candidates who are vying for senior positions and can afford to splash out large sums of money should, in fact, be subject to further probe by the MACC, as to how within a short period of time, they managed to amass such huge funds. One’s hard earned money is usually spent mainly on the households.
Although in the past, there were strong evidences of money politics, the MACC’s hands were tied, when UMNO’s chairman, Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen said money politics came under the jurisdiction of its disciplinary committee. Prior to this year’s UMNO Annual General Meeting, there was not even a single UMNO member who was charged by the MACC, despite the findings by UMNO”s disciplinary committee.
TI-M views the gravity of money politics and its implications on national politics. When some of these people eventually come into power because of money politics rather than the support of the people, we can expect the standards that they set for the civil servants working under them.
To make a difference this year, UMNO should not only take disciplinary actions against those caught involved in corruption but allow the MACC to carry out its duty to investigate and charge those who are using money politics. The MACC should also act independently instead of trying to play safe or succumb to pressure from their political masters. The MACC owes it to the people to carry out its duty without fear or favour.
TI-M notes that former MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan had the powers, responsibilities and jurisdiction to investigate “money politics” (calling it a form of Corruption) when he declared that “the MACC is going after vote-buying in Umno, whether the party likes it or not”. The onus is now on the Chief Commissioner, Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed to push for the MACC agenda and step in to “conduct our own investigations even if the disciplinary board is looking into the case. Never mind if the investigations overlap, we will still have still to be there.”
The MACC cannot stand by the sidelines and not being actively engaged in rooting out money politics, whether in UMNO or other political parties.
Dato’ Akhbar bin Satar, President Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Transparency International Malaysia