A former Umno MP has revealed that it was the norm for division chiefs to get projects from party leaders during Barisan Nasional’s administration, following the suggestion by a PPBM leader that party chieftains be given government contracts.
- Contracts range from several hundred thousand to even a million ringgit
- Projects awarded based on division chief’s popularity with the government and the people, leaders had to know how to “bodek everyone”
- Money received from contracts kept at home so that cash is dished out without leaving any trace of under-table money
- Culture of people expecting money, even knocking on division chiefs’ doors to ask for cash when something happens in their lives
Speaking to FMT on condition of anonymity, he said the contracts ranged from small construction projects to the upgrading of public facilities, supply of fresh food and running of hostels.
However, not all division heads would be given projects as it depended on whom they were close with.
“If an Umno division chief was popular and well-liked, and could bring in votes, he or she stood a better chance of getting bigger contracts.
“It was all about how enterprising you were,” he said.
In terms of value, he added, the projects could range from several hundred thousand ringgit to even a million. Again, this depended on the individual’s popularity with the government and the people.
Sometimes, he said, the money received from these contracts was kept at home to make it easier for party members to dish out cash without leaving any trace of under-table money.
“It’s not easy being a divisional head,” he said. “Voters expect you to have money and to give them money when something happens in their lives.”
Weddings, funerals and open houses were only some of the examples of events at which Umno division chiefs were expected to give out money, he said.
“It’s become part of the culture,” he said, adding that sometimes people even knocked on their doors asking for cash.
He told FMT that it was “not cheap” to be a politician, especially a politician in the government.
“People’s expectations are high.”
Another former Umno MP who has left the party said leaders who wanted contracts had to know how to “bodek everyone”.
“Everyone is basically waiting for a contract,” he told FMT, adding that the culture might be hard for Pakatan Harapan to shake as the voters had come to expect help from party heads.
During the recent PPBM general assembly, vice-president Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman had suggested that party chieftains be given government contracts.
His suggestion received a standing ovation and loud applause from thousands of PPBM members.
But PPBM Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman later slammed those in the party soliciting contracts and positions from those in power.
He said many delegates had brought up the issue of certain members wanting contracts and positions being awarded to them. – FMT