Umno, the political party turned corporate animal
However, as the years passed by, Umno became more and more expensive to run. By the time Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad became Prime Minister, it cost RM1.5 billion to finance the general election. Last night, according to Umno’s Pengarah Komunikasi, today it costs RM2.5 billion for each general election.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first Prime Minister and Bapa Merdeka was wealthy by any standards. He was a prince from the Kedah Royal Family and was raised and schooled at the Thai King’s Palace in Bangkok. The Kedah Royal Household is the oldest ruling family in Malaysian history, far older than the other eight royal dynasties, and had strong links to the Thai royal dynasty.
‘The Tunku’, as he is fondly called, was a born leader, you could even say God-sent to lead Malaysia into independence or Merdeka. The Tunku was amongst that pre-war/pre-Merdeka breed of Malay gentlemen who spoke the King’s English, had tea and scones at 4.00pm, played cricket and rugby, and indulged in a glass of brandy and a Cuban cigar after dinner.
During that era your class would be measured by what liquor you drank and how well-stocked your bar at home was: and every cultured Malay had a well-stocked bar at home, my father included, of course.
I remember once the PAS President visiting the Tunku at home after Subuh and the Tunku met him at the door with a ‘glass’ in his hand. The PAS President commented, “MasyaAllah, Subuh dan minum,” and the Tunku replied, “Eh, air sembahyang ada lagi.”
Yes, Malays of the 1930s and 1940s were a different breed — you can even say they were brown Englishmen. The Tunku was the first Cambridge student in history to be given permission to drive a car, and he drove a sports car with an English girlfriend in the passenger’s seat — who incidentally was my late mother’s friend.
Anyway, what I want to reveal is, when the Tunku died he was broke. He could not even afford to pay his income tax. And that is because he had spent all his money on Umno. Umno’s main source of income then was donations from Chinese towkays.
However, as the years passed by, Umno became more and more expensive to run. By the time Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad became Prime Minister, it cost RM1.5 billion to finance the general election. Last night, according to Umno’s Pengarah Komunikasi, today it costs RM2.5 billion for each general election. And that does not include paying for the management cost of running Umno, which is another RM3 billion every five years.
A confession from the horse’s mouth
And that was why Mahathir decided to corporatise Umno. They need an average of RM1 billion a year to finance Umno, general elections included every 4-5 years. And to make RM1 billion a year you need to generate about RM5-10 billion in turnover, not a small amount of money. And to earn this kind of money you need to plunder the nation’s coffers. And to achieve this, Mahathir opened Umno to corporate raiders who in no time replaced the teachers and civil servants in Umno who represented 70% of Umno’s membership base.
Anyway, the following report sheds more light on the matter.
ALSO READ: Where Did Umno’s RM100 Billion Disappear To?
READ MORE HERE: https://www.malaysia-today.net/files/Business-in-Politics-by-Dr-Terence-Gomez-20221102-12-07pm.pdf