Bribing Voters Malaysian Style–An Example for the World


April 10, 2013

Bribing Voters Malaysian Style–An Example for the World

by Mariam Mokhtar (04-08-13) @http://www.malaysiakini.com

Watching Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak entertain BN supporters at the Stadium Putra in Bukit Jalil recently was like attending an orgy of greed and self-indulgence at a crooks’ convention. In what could be the final line-up of BN leaders before they disappear from public view, Najib’s last act encapsulated UMNO’s rule – corruption and abuse of power.

Najib and His Manifesto
His final attempt at wooing voters with cash handouts will corrupt the nation’s morals. Most leaders encourage their citizens to follow honest and hardworking paths in life, but not Najib. He is a feckless Prime Minister, a dishonourable Malaysian and a moral degenerate.

To cries of adulation, Najib announced various increases in handouts like the BR1M payment. He denied that these were “vote-buying” tactics. When he said that some payments would be given yearly, the crowd burst into a frenzy.

2 PMsFormer PM Mahathir Mohamad is allegedly the driving force for establishing the evils of corruption in Malaysian politics, but is Najib an evil conspirator or is he a victim, too?

Clearly, Najib attracts some sympathy. Son of a former Prime Minister, born into privileged Pahang society, a ladies’ man and a bon viveur, Najib wants for nothing and could have used his impressive lineage to help the rakyat.

At the launch of the BN manifesto, Najib charted his political ascent: “I started as a backbencher, then Deputy Minister, then Minister, Menteri Besar, Deputy Prime Minister, then PM. The principle of my struggle is that of loyalty to my superiors. I served under three prime ministers and was loyal to all. Was Anwar loyal? Definitely not.”

The untimely death of Najib’s father (n 1976), Abdul Razak Hussein, catapulted Najib into politics but few would be impressed by Najib’s lacklustre performance as a career politician.  Ironically, Najib’s personal tragedy lies along the path that led him to wealth and power.

Despite his political pedigree, Najib cannot empathise with the rakyat. HisNajib other encounter with “normal” life, was a brief stint in the corporate world. He sees little of the rakyat’s suffering and has experienced few hardships in life.

One could always argue that Anwar has proved his loyalty to the rakyat. He dared to challenge Mahathir, but was punished: however, to what or whom is Najib loyal? Money, power or both?

The moment Najib started to milk the taxpayers’ money, he became a prisoner of the system. Our leaders are good at taking what does not belong to them.

Mahathir dispensed with transparency, accountability and responsibility. Cronies were encouraged to embrace a culture of entitlement. They are used to receiving something for nothing. Mahathir compromised our work ethics, our culture of honesty, sense of values, respect for the judiciary and the police, self-respect and respect for one another.

Offers of cash, with the promises of more, risk the nation’s finances. Who foots the bill? Will the crowd be euphoric when taxes are increased? Will they be jubilant when subsidies are reduced?

Corrupt leaders have studied and worked the system to their advantage. Their success is mainly due to our apathy and our inability to ask challenging questions. Politicians succeed because they are able to massage the greedy side of our human nature. Whilst we were engrossed with our RM500 BR1M payment, we overlooked the billions of ringgits acquired by politicians through commissions and land deals.

Subsidising the lifestyles of the corrupt

Why should we subsidise the lifestyles of corrupt politicians? They live off us like drug addicts consume drugs. Like drug addicts, they are not interested in stable employment or earning a decent living through an honest day’s work.

Najib is UMNO’s evil conspirator but he is not a victim, like us. Najib is trapped by his lifestyle and the vicious cycle of fame and debauchery. Neither he nor his peers feel they have done anything wrong. They believe that they are entitled to the culture of “something for nothing”.

Shahrizat A JalilShahrizat Abdul Jalil has shown no remorse for the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal, whilst Taib Mahmud has expressed contempt for the MACC in investigating allegations of his corruption. Both Najib and his self-styled First Lady, Rosmah Mansor, have denied allegations of murder, corruption and excessive spending.

The tragedy of Najib is that he is unprincipled. He could have achieved greatness by being an able leader, by putting his nation first; before him or his wife. In times of crises, he invokes the memory of his father’s good deeds. He is just trying to hide behind his father’s laurels, like a child hiding behind his mother’s apron. In the end, he failed everyone, including himself.

AH TOK and BR1M

Even Tok Mat (above) cannot be deceived

A few years ago, UMNO politicians boasted of being able to trounce the Opposition at the polls. The rhetoric gradually reduced to that of a hung Parliament. If people could be used as a barometer for despair, then Mahathir is one. He entered the fray, and warned Najib that if he did not perform, his deputy would take charge.

UMNO realised that their internal power struggles were turning the rakyat against them. They knew that a failure to win GE13, would signify an end to their political futures and personal freedom. They knew that if at any time one of them had fallen, they would all have been toppled, like a house of cards.

Saturday’s launch was an open show of bribery which shames everyone.  UMNO knows it faces defeat at the polls, but it has gone past caring.

Anwar Ibrahim is not perfect and it would be facetious to claim that the Opposition parties are unblemished; however, only fools would be seduced by more lies that UMNO needs more time to reform.

Lest people forget, Anwar’s ill-treatment at Mahathir’s hand awakened a moral desire, in each of us,  to be rid of racist and religious bigotry, and the desire to establish a just and equitable society. Even if Anwar could not continue with the struggle, the spark he lit has already ignited the embers of consciousness in most Malaysians.

13 thoughts on “Bribing Voters Malaysian Style–An Example for the World

  1. This is a well written piece by Ms. Mokhtar on political corruption in Malaysia today. Santa Claus Najib assumes that all Malaysians can be bought by handouts and giveaways. I am sure third world politicians will be attracted to this approach if UMNO-BN wins GE-13. We have to vote with our conscience.–Din Merican

  2. Go and read the blog of Kisah Budak Nakal datelined May 10th 2013 and learn something from there and bermuhasabah for our next step when leaving this world.

  3. There is one thing very true about Najib.He CANNOT empathise with the people.He is FOR himself,his wife,his family and his cronies.

    When he needed the Rakyat ,he will throw goodies.But these are peanuts in comparison to what he himself ,his wife,his family and his cronies have robbed from the Rakyat without even have a tinge of guilt to start with.

    Those who benefited of course work hard to portray that Najib is the best guy to run the country.Funny thing is those who got peanuts are even more defensive of Najib and BN.

    Call it vote buying or not these groups just don’t care.It works.For 55 years the same modus operandi was used to put BN to power.Can we say its not going to work this time

  4. Mariam Mokhtar describes truly my opinion and feelings and I am sure too of many countless Malaysians. People are so fed-up with BN and I am even afraid to think that many BN candidates in urban and sub-urban may even lose their deposits.

    Come 7th of May, Malaysia will create HIS7ORY when it swears in its 7th Prime Minister and that man shall be Anwar Ibrahim, believe it!

  5. Via, Veritas, Vita. (Latin: The Way, the Truth and the Life)
    Malaysians in general, cannot countenance this. Never had, never will. Why?
    Vote buying is the oldest profession in Civilization. If that doesn’t work – Prostitution comes next.

  6. If bn get that 2/3 majority, it will be business as usual! The same wide scale corruption from head of state down, and abuse of power from crooked executive to coward judicial to tutup1mata cops to half baked religious leaders too! But then again, maybe the voting majority likes it that way…it is their rights to be feudal, ill educated, and of course, easily paid off with br1m, kr1m, dr1m etcetc …

  7. The funny thing is, research into the question of whether voters are swayed by handouts suggest that they actually aren’t. Which makes the “handout” competition between PR and BN doubly interesting. Whoever wins, would it be because of or despite of handouts?

    I’d also note that there is a pretty solid economic rationale behind welfare transfers, though it appears not many people are listening.

  8. The question that lies before us is whether we can think why some voters will change their mind over voting pattern when money or incentives are offered and some will not. It is true that some low income group who work from hand to mouth will feel handy leaving a soft spot for such guesture. Irrespective whether there is cash hand out, we need to balance the equation on a long term basis on short term gain and a long term suffering with lavish spending of government coffers. There is no economic sense when the country is carrying such heavy national debt despite having oil and gas production. Taiwan is almost free from national debt when they don’t even have one drum of oil from their own land. Think before you go to the poll.

  9. hishamh @ 12:34,
    Handouts are ineffective simply because they factor in only one aspect of the human organism i.e the materialistic. It does nothing, and indeed may be deemed contrary to the basic human psychological need for self-esteem, truth, freedom, integrity, liberty, community and free-will.

    The problem with our present day political scenario, is that the leaders over-indulge in material needs and populist rantings, than a sober assessment of what is commonly deemed as justice and fairness. They have been molly-coddled by advisers and handlers so out of touch with the layman’s aspirations, that they think that by doling out short-term gratification, they can bypass or short-circuit long-term goals.

    In general, as people ascend the totem of Maslowian security to self-actualization, we tend to find Ian Gough’s political economy and also the capability approach of Amarta Sen’s and Martha Naussbaum’s views more relevant. What most people prefer is universal suffrage, empowerment and opportunities for self improvement.

    Therefore, pork-barrel politics seldom work except in the minds of the most cynical materialists. Now, what does that say about that blinkered care-taker of ours?

  10. Dato Din, We are suppose to be a developing country, but moving into third world, with our education system, judiary and so on that was destroyed by the kutty. Bribery can in fact buy votes of those with third world mentality, which many of us have fallen into. Moreover, our Gov has given out ICs to many from bangladesh, myanmar, indonesia, philippine, and so on, so are we not into third world now?
    Many are also very naive as to only see the short term gains of few hundred RM, some handouts, so the incumbent gov has definitely an upper hand in this GE13. God bless our country.

  11. @CLF,

    I used to think the same way. Suffice to say I’ve been persuaded that view is wrong.

    I’m also somewhat bemused that the BN manifesto is castigated for doling out handouts, yet there’s nary a whisper on all the handouts in the PR manifesto. A 10 sen reduction in petrol price alone will be enough to fund 2 years worth of BR1M.

    @Ricardo Lane

    It is always best to check sources before making sweeping statements or generalisations.

    Taiwan’s government debt hit 41.7% of GDP in 2012, an increase of NT$1.5 trillion from 2008 (IMF WEO), or equivalent to about RM160 billion. Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore have all instituted cash/voucher handout programs since 2009. It’s become standard regional policy to counteract higher food prices.

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