Face to Face with Ibrahim Ali: RM1m is spent to be Umno division chief

(fz.com) – Just to be elected to the position of a committee member of an Umno division, a candidate would have to spend at least RM25,000 to try to get the needed votes, according to Malay rights advocate Datuk Ibrahim Ali.
To campaign for the post of a division head alone, one would have to have at least RM1million in his pocket. Overall, a whole division polls would amount to RM6 million spent on the ground just to gain the votes. 

The appointment is much sought after, for it is through these Umno appointments that one gets other forms of income as these posts will open doors to Umno ministers and top players who will in turn allow them access to projects worth millions of ringgit.  
Ibrahim, although not a party member any more, should know, for not many have been in Umno as long and held as many positions as he has. 
Under the party, he was an MP (Pasir Mas), a division head, a Supreme Council member and Umno Youth Exco member and many other small appointments. He was also once a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department under the then PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. 
He has left Umno of his own once – with Umno breakaway faction Semangat 46 – and then the last time, he was “booted out” by being dropped as the division sponsor in 2004 during the former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s time. He was then sacked from Umno for contesting as an independent in the 2004 General Election.
Although Ibrahim is known for his controversial outbursts as the Perkasa president championing the extreme rights of the Malays, he claims he is at odds with the money politics that goes on in Umno now, despite once being in the thick of the party. 
Ibrahim said that despite Umno having adopted measures such as tightening the constitution, introduced a code of ethics and increasing the number of delegates that can vote to curb money politics especially during its party polls, nothing much has changed.  
“It did not work because everybody in Umno sees that when it comes to Umno elections, this is the time to make some money,” said Ibrahim. “There are two stages – national and division polls. 
“Even in Kelantan, if one wants to be a division leader, it is the one who spends most money who is the winner. 
“If one division has 900 delegates, the incumbent will spend roughly RM1,500. After nomination, they will hand out RM200, then in the middle, another RM200 and then they will see what the challengers will give. Those who top up the most will win. If there are three candidates, the delegates will receive three sources of income. The only difference is the amount. And this is only for one post,” said Ibrahim. 
He also gave a breakdown of the handouts for the campaigns in Sabah.
“If they are from Peninsula, I don’t think the campaigners wants to go by Air Asia. This is the time they want to enjoy, so they go by Malaysia Airlines and stay in hotels. So definitely the candidate has to pay – even RM20 for 300 to 400 delegates from one division, you multiply,” said Ibrahim, who once lost the Supreme Council post by one rank because he claimed he only distributed a solar calculator which cost RM8 each.
(In Part 2, Ibrahim claims he was the best parliamentarian, and that money politics and democracy go hand-in-hand.)

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