Money politics – a lucrative lure to the other side

PETALING JAYA: A PPBM division chief has admitted attempting to recruit members from Umno after being rejected by members of PAS and PKR.

However the division leader would not reveal if his party was using money to recruit the Umno members.

He said money politics may not be the way for his party to strengthen its position.

The divisional leader said his party hopes to recruit from among Umno grassroot leaders as most PAS and PKR members have rejected their offers, whereas PPBM and Umno shared a similar ideology.

He said those divisional members neglected by Umno’s leadership have shown some interest in joining PPBM.

“There are some who have agreed to join PPBM but the feedback we have received so far is that the grassroots may not follow their local leaders. PPBM is a new party. To build loyalty, it takes time and effort. Rome was not built in a day,” he told FMT.

In areas where Umno leaders neglected their constituencies, he said they have managed to recruit members but “we are not sure if they will be able to pull the crowd yet.”

Money politics usually takes place in three scenarios, he said. The first is to strengthen state and federal level cooperation, during party elections and during general elections.

He said, as for now, most parties are looking at strengthening state-federal level cooperation.

Money politics could include cash, land, positions and perks, he added.

Money politics will weaken Malay unity

Political analyst Azmi Hassan said there is some truth to allegations that money politics is being used to woo Umno grassroots leaders to another party.

“It is understandable for political parties to look for local icons. But they need inducement. There is some truth to it (money politics),” he told FMT.

He said PPBM should instead entice local icons with no attachment to Umno to avoid antoganising the old party, adding that while dissatisfied Umno members may be easy targets, the strategy was wrong.

He said all talk of Malay unity between Umno, PPBM and PAS would be pointless if money is used to woo members to switch. Instead, it will only weaken the governing coalition.

“It is sad that money is being used to lure leaders over. It shows a lack of political maturity,” added Azmi.

Political strategist Syed Arabi Idid said that as a national party, PPBM needed to expand its wings with the help of experienced politicians in various constituencies.

“PPBM is very likely to bite into Umno grassroots. Since PPBM has a similar ideology with Umno, it is easier for them to approach Umno leaders,” he told FMT.

However, he said, Umno members would in return ask: “what is in it for me if I join you?”

Syed Arabi of Universiti Islam Malaysia added that this opens opportunities for money politics but the politicians “do not see this as money politics but rather as part of their expenses to get voters.”

He said that while money politics may appeal to some fence sitters, it would not buy loyalty as “people may take your money and not vote for you”.

Similarly, the next person coming along with a bigger wad of cash can lure that person away again.

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