If there is one phrase that will make any UMNO member start to salivate and completely focus on the person the question is directed to it is that phrase “Ada Projek ?” Any where their members congregate at whatever level – from Cawangan to the sitting of the Majlis Tertinggi at PWTC – that phrase dominates proceedings. It will draws the faithful to those who can answer in the affirmative like bees are drawn to honey. It ensures nominations and votes at Cawangan, Bahagian, Negri and National levels. It takes loyalty from one faction and bestows it on another. It allows those able to dispense such niceties to gain leverage to any level of the UMNO hierarchy – if you have a “projek”.
It is the ice breaker at any function and cuts through all strata's of society. It is the great leveler because even the ordinary member in UMNO can ask his Minister “Ada Projek?” “Kalau Ada” then that UMNO member can become your machai, your loyal servant and even, when duty calls, be prepared to sacrifice life and limb for that elusive ‘projek’. Make no mistake – UMNO was build on ‘Projeks’, UMNo will rise or fall on ‘Projeks’ and UMNO will certainly need to stay in power for ‘Projeks’.
Everything else is superfluous. Silap mata aja. The NEP, Bumiputra Status, Economic Planning Unit, All the corridors in the North, South, East and West of the country, Privatization, Wawasan 2020, KUB, NARSCO…everything also are just the means to the ‘Projek’. Without the ‘Projek’ you might as well close shop. Don’t play play. Mukhriz went for the Ketua Pemuda post without any projek. That’s ridiculous when he has already amass a healthy bank balance from his ties with a certain past president – now he wants to be ketua pemuda and he got no Projek? No can do lah. Mukriz was even beaten to the post by that ‘come from nowhere’ guy call Khir Toya – why? Toyo got projek.
MCA and MIC are fast learners – but while MCA’s projek recipients are its top echelons leaders, MIC has only one channel – Samy Velu. Never have so much been given to so few (one actually) in the name of so many (the Indian community).
What type of projeks are for the offering? Well it depends on where these projeks are discussed. In the warong of the kampongs where the faithful gather whenever the YB’s find time to sometimes reluctantly visit - they can discuss the longkang project, the building of a surau projek or even look at the possibility of linking the kampong with the main highway via a proper road – but award of the projects will have to be to the ketua bahagians who will then sub contract the work to the class E and F of the kampong. Whether he will pay the sub contractors for work done on time or ever at all is open to debate but just the hope of the projek is enough to maintain that link of hope for the villagers until the next visit of the YB.
What about the discussion at the 5 star hotels where to order a Flat White will be frown upon. “Aisehman cubalah Irish Coffee”. Here the consultant or the architect to the project would normally be present to give authenticity to the guy who is claiming “Ini Projek aku”. Of course you have the Projeck Title and the specifications handy and if he has done his homework, the JKR QS (Quantity Surveyor) is also present. Once everybody is introduced the poor Chinese sub contractor who was brought to the meeting by the poor malay class A contractor will have to the following:
- · Discuss up front fees.
- · Discuss profit margins and the ‘top up’ to make sure everybody gets the cut including, according to the UMNO guy, my boss- which would normally mean either the Minister or somebody more important, the Minister’s Pol Sec (itu lingo untuk Political Secretary).
- · Then most important, the Chinese Sub Contractor has to pay the bill.
Assured that it is a ‘done deal’ the UMNO guy then has to explain that the calling of the Open Tender is just a technicality as it will be a close tender – only 4 contractors invited and he asks the contractor to name the four he wants invited. That part is concluded with an additional fee of $10K…and from there the UMNO guy goes to another meeting at another 5 star hotel to do another deal for the same contract with another Class A Bumi contractor who also has a Chinese sub contractor to come along to pay the bills and the up front fee. And so the merry go round goes on and on.