Sunday, November 9, 2008

Umno Money Politics - Of Bom and Agong

The most used words in the current Umno elections are "bom" and "Agong" - according to the grapevine. The word "bom" refers to last-minute attempts by candidates to use large amounts of money to buy votes, catching their opponents off-guard - who may have also used money but probably less - while "Agong" is a direct reference to the ringgit, where the image of the first Yang di Pertuan Agong is printed. That means delegates would ask contenders whether they would see any "Agong."

And such talk cannot be that far fetched because Umno has admitted money politics is rampant. Some said it has gone out of control in this elections. The use of money is so rampant that according to Umno disciplinary chairman Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen Ismail, there are now over 900 complaints of various cases, mostly bribery and money politics. Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muyhiddin Yassin said he was "worried and ashamed" about money politics in the run-up to the party polls in March.

And this is only at the nomination stage. What happens when the actual voting is carried out? No wonder some leaders have asked the polls to be held next month because it would be surely too taxing if it's in March, as scheduled.

Would that mean more millions of "Agong" and state awards such as Datukships? There is no way that Tengku Rithauddeen would have the time and resources to investigate the 900 allegations of bribery. Let's not talk about cases where money is happily and quietly accepted. If corruption has become a culture and practice, how can Umno possibly fight corruption at the government level? For that matter, how can delegates of the ruling party treat fighting corruption as its agenda?

Tengku Rithauddeen is right in suggesting that the Anti Corruption Agency be called in to investigate money politics because it is corruption, pure and simple. There is plenty of suspicion particularly the sudden shift in nomination patterns. But as in all things, if there are demand and supply, even the ACA can't prove anything. Read Jailaini Harun's Money Politics, Power and Contracts.


BareSheen said...

There have been numerous calls to eradicate corruption by no less than UMNO leaders themselves for years and years.

And what have we got? Worsening money politics. Isn't this telling? It simply means our current crop of UMNO leaders are powerless against this scourge.

In today's STAR, our DPM called for a rejection of leaders who are involved in money politics.

I suggest he looks at his own backyard first and clean it up. A leader who is not beyond any whisper of corruption has no high moral ground at all to tell others what to do.

It only rings nauseatingly hollow. Until and unless Dato Najib is beyond reproach, this country is only going to be mired deeper in corruption.

That's the sad truth and the sooner Malaysians recognise this the better.

Otherwise we are heading the way of a basket country.

Anonymous said...

The culture of money politics? We all know culture is the evolution of a set of accepted behaviour, rituals or rites. Behaviour is formed when an action is repeatedly rewarded. Which tells us there is a LOT of money to be made in politics - so much more than the amount that aspirants are willing to pay to gain a place. How many agongs are we talking about? Perhaps, someone can venture to shed some light. This so called culture of money politics only serves to confirm that self-enrichment is a fringe benefit of being a politician. The fact that it is especially rampant in UMNO speaks for the lucrativeness of being an UMNO/government politician. We are not talking about government salaries here - one cannot get rich by that alone. And the ACA cannot find proof ... in the face of the billowing smoke and the raging fire.

Anonymous said...

There is no complex science needed to understand money politics in UMNO. It is simply a corrupt one.

Where do you think the money come from? It is from kickbacks from unwanted projects by the government.

In order to stop money politic, the tap for free and easy money must be stopped. Stop giving projects to cronies. With the tap turned off, there will be less money to go around.

BeYetWiser said...

If corruption begins at this level, guess what happens when some of these leaders who made it by this means become ministers. He (the new minister) will have to feed those who supported him, and but where to get the funds? Ah from the public of course; from those who now need favor from him. Can one who was tainted be truly free when those who bought him want their payday when he gets promoted?
If UMNO cannot deal with corruption at their party level, how on earth can they do it on a national level? ACA should catch all the fishes in their respective (UMNO, MCA, MIC etc..) ponds before they get release into the ocean and become sharks

BlueMoon said...

Money politics is certainly an epidemic in UMNO. Almost every leaders from PM down to ordinary members recognise that the use of 'bom' and 'agung' are quite rampant. It is the consequence for clinging to power far too long. The reality is that UMNO today is different from UMNO 50 years ago. But what choice does the malay majority has? DAP, no way! PKR, no principle. GERAKAN and MCA, too racist. PAS, too inconsistent. Whether they like or not, the Malays will continue to rely on UMNO. But their patience has the limit. If UMNO continues to squabble over ringgits and cents then their days are numbered.

Anonymous said...

Do you for a minute really believe all the stuff they say publicly about abolishing corruption? Maybe when it happen to someone else, but not when they are the beneficiary. All drama for the media-lah !!

Anonymous said...

yes, pls focus on corruption, police integrity, and judiciary. If Star can cover these stories well, you will surely see your viewership increase. and also redeem your paper's reputation. you're a clever man, surely you can find ways to make your paper play an important and positive part in civil society.

sinnersaint:saintsinner said...

Chun Wai

Its the same ole same ole same ole script, if you rerun the old issues of your paper, say the last 15 years, you'll discover it the " same shit" years differ, and the comments from these leaders were,are and always will be - sama.

After all these years,, you should make the decision to just give em few para and dont bother he he he


Anonymous said...

Sdr. Wong Cun Wai,

It is of no surprise that UMNO members indulge in money politics like there is no tomorrow. If only you have UMNO members as "direct" clients you would know how corrupt they are!


Anonymous said...


corruption is as old as prostitution.

cant separate one from either one.

Anonymous said...

Let's get real here -- there is no hope whatsoever of ridding money politics and corruption in Umno.

This is simply because these two stains have so deeply permeated the party that one can say they have become part of the DNA of Umno.

The reason for this is not hard to discern. In their desire to acquire as many members as possible, on the principle that numbers equal strength, Umno has attracted many immoral and amoral miscreants.

But there is hope. All those who are genuinely disgusted and sickened by the rampant corruption and wickedness in the party should resign from it and go out and set up a new party or a spin-off but this time based on noble principles of fairness, justice, honesty and incorruptibility.

Yang ikhlas,