Seremban UMNO division vice-chief Mohd Nor Awang allegedly offered a bribe to seek nomination for the division’s number one post, while Lengkok Golf branch (in the Kelana Jaya division) youth chief Mohd Rusihan Abu Yaziz @ Mohamad pleaded guilty to providing false information to an ACA officer.
These swift actions reflected the party’s seriousness in combating money politics. However, in its enthusiasm to ensure that the party is clean and free from such a menace, the move has projected a negative image of UMNO to the rakyat.
“Is UMNO the only political party involved in money politics during its election?” asked a card carrying member; adding that all the news reports on ACA penetrating into the party and the action taken against members suggested to the public that the party was “rotten to the core”.
“Money politics is corruption. And if it is rampant in the party we are showing to the public that the opposition that we are corrupted,” he said.
A political observer said the move to allow ACA to investigate was an “attempt” to project that top UMNO leaders were sincere and would not compromise on money politics.
However, he added, such a move has its negative effect.
“As of now, more and more UMNO members are being investigated. It looks as if only UMNO is corrupted. What about MCA, MIC, Gerakan and other Barisan component members?
“Are these parties free from money politics?” said the political observer.
To the decision makers in the party, Umno is sandwiched between a rock and a hard place.
If no action is taken to eradicate money politics, it would destroy the strength of the patty, but if action is taken it will give ammunition to the opposition to continue attacking UMNO.
It’s a no win situation - damn if you do, damn if you don’t.