Umno’s ‘politics of charity’, still relevant after election defeat?
“Not many see it as an act of kindness or benevolence, as reciprocation is needed during times of election”
(MalaysiaNow) – While some have called for an end to the practice of giving handouts in return for support, the culture may live on, say analysts.
The poor performance of Umno and its umbrella group Barisan Nasional (BN) in states traditionally dominated by the Malay party has brought with it questions about the survival of the so-called politics of charity long associated with the coalition, especially in rural areas.
Such charity normally comes in the form of assistance, cash or otherwise, with the hope of eliciting the support of the people in return.
It is also associated with a warlord culture where individual politicians maintain their wealth in order to ensure a loyal support base.
But in the wake of BN’s record poor performance which saw it winning just 30 seats across the entire country, calls have arisen from some grassroots groups for a stop to the practice.
Speaking to MalaysiaNow, political observer Azizi Safar said Umno’s welfare politics might no longer have a place in the hearts of voters.
“Not many see it as an act of kindness or benevolence, as reciprocation is needed during times of election,” he said.
“Nevertheless, it cannot be said that Umno does not need to help the people, regardless of political alignment, or that it must only help its own members.”