Sunday 29 May 2011

Funding Umno — Che’ Ghazali Imran

MAY 29 — On the surface, there is little connection between the government’s move to bend to the wishes of Perkasa and allow unqualified Malay contractors bid for the MRT job; to up the salaries of 7,700 teachers; and to award plum contracts to well-connected companies and individuals.

They just seem to be random decisions by the government with little connection to or impact on us. But I believe that if we connect the dots, we will realise that these three initiatives have a profound impact on us all.
The select 7,700 senior assistants and principals are Umno supporters or actively involved in party politics. This pay hike is a reward scheme for Umno activists, a little greasing of the palms of division and branch leaders ahead of the general elections.

And guess what? You and I are funding them and therefore, are funding Umno.

Now what about Perkasa fighting for Malay contractors to get a piece of the mega MRT project. More than 50,000 Class F contractors are linked to Umno while a significant number of the bigger boys are nominees for Umno politicians. So when they get a slice of the MRT contract, no prizes for who really benefits.

Mind you, many of those now allowed to bid for MRT work are not qualified to do so. They have not even met the minimum qualifications but for political expediency, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has allowed himself to be bullied by Perkasa into opening the floodgates to the unqualified.

Actually, bullied may be the wrong word. The real word is accomplice. Najib figures that if he makes all these contractors happy, they will fund the party machinery. Alternatively, he cannot afford to make all these contractors-cum-party officials unhappy.

Again, we, the taxpayers, are funding Umno.

Finally, it is an open secret that corporate bigwigs are financing Umno’s election machinery. This is done by “donating” a chunk of money from a project they obtain. The problem with this scheme is that the prize of the contract is often inflated, therefore allowing the corporate figure to make a hefty profit and also make a hefty donation to Umno.

It seems like the government is funding these projects but in actual fact, it is us Malaysians who are funding these projects through the taxes we pay. So in reality, it is we who are funding Umno and keeping them in power.

The irony is that most of us despise what Umno has done to our country but we are funding their hold on power.

* Che’ Ghazali Imran reads The Malaysian Insider.

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