What would it take for you to vote for UMNO? Would all the tea in China do it? Not if you are a man or women of principle. Are they any of them left? Men and women of principle I mean? Not too many by the looks of things. Not many in politics anyway. Not in UMNO for sure!
Are our leaders principled? They are principled enough to demand money for anything that they do in the name of bangsa, ugama dan negara! This has become a game of high stakes – not millions anymore but billions! While we sit and watch them plot and scheme how to make these billions they go about doing it with the desperateness of politicians who must win election to continue to live they way they do now. Mercedes, BMWs and Lexus in the garages. A mansion in a gated suburb. Lifestyle of the rich and famous -all on the salary of an MP or a Minister! All is well when elections are won but this 13th general election will be different.
Allocations have been cut to the barest minimum. When you put your hand out for duit you must justify your need for it. UMNO is downsizing. UMNO is being ‘realistic’ about money politics – which is UMNO jargon for there is not enough to go around! Najib and Muhyiddin are flush with cash but the dash for cash amongst the others are real. The warlords are more calculative – what goes out must bring in returns. They will ‘invest’ but they will not throw cash around anymore. So how will UMNO manage when cash is needed to move party apparatus even one single inch!
There are no more banner and poster makers lining up to offer their services to UMNO. Past non payment of work done has scared most of the printers away. The printers are wary of any ‘entertainment’ requirements or commissioned requests from the machais and sahabats of Ministers. Knowing any of them is no longer a guarantee of work. Quotations are required and the lowest would be seriously considered before deals are made. Less commissions, less profits all around.
There are attempts made at economizing. The 5 Star hotel Coffee House is not the meeting place of choice for anybody. When you pay your own way you watch what you spend. The Ketua Bahagians no longer have a running tab at these coffee house where anybody can go and chill. You will have your expenses taken care off but it is not open ended. No rooms or presents for girlfriends or mistresses. It is all work.
This is how UMNO is changing. Your count every ringgit you spend and you budget for expenses unless you are Najib or Muhyiddin. Your entourage only consist of sahabats you need to have with you. And you dream of the good old days when the river of ringgits flow like the Sungai Pahang in flood. When Setia Usaha Kanan and Pol Sec carry suit cases of ringgits from hotel to hotel just so that all the ‘needs; of the party faithful and the electorates are met. Today even credit cards have their limits!
Who will lead UMNO into the 13th general election. For now it is Najib but Muhyiddin people know that they are next in line. Uneasy are the ties between those in Najib’s camp and those in Muhyiddins. Those who have been through it all before during Mahathir and Pak Lah’s time hedge their bets. One foot in Najib camp the other in Muhyiddin. They do favours for each other, run errands for each other and check with each other if projects have been ‘allocated’ to anyone. It would not do for anyone to go after anything allocated to Najib’s people. It is always the Setia Usaha Sulit Kanan who keeps track of all these projects. They are the gate keeper, the collector of tolls and the “go to” person for anything you want to do for or with their bosses. No joke brother they are very powerful people – even Ministers kowtow to them. The others kautim!
With the election so close everything can be linked and blamed on the election. Their boss inability to meet with anybody. Projects promised to one party given to another – they need funds for the elections! And always that damm election hanging over everything and anything their boss do. Anything that needs to be done is to be done because of the election. Anything that needs to be delayed is delayed until after the election.
This is the state UMNO is in now. Familiar territory for the old-timers, invigorating for the rookies and certainly anxious moments for all concern because this time it is really too close to call. Uncertainties brings many opportunities to make more money for the enterprising UMNOcrats. Alliances are being formed, support being canvassed and promised, factions are being given substance as individuals are linked or excluded from the group! Everything is in a flux. Everything is fluid. The bold and the brave who dare to make a stand on issues and take sides with Najib or Muhyiddin may win the day. Only time will tell. But UMNO is as ready as it can be for the 13th general elections.
What they fail to ask themselves is if the people are ready for them? Ready to give them another term in government? Ready to allow them the opportunity to govern in spite of all that they have seen UMNO do in the past 50 over years.
For me it is good that it has come to this. That the Malays are no longer one with UMNO. It may be our undoing if somehow the dynamics within Pakatan Rakyat fails to deliver 1Malaysia but we will take that chance. Better that then even another week of UMNO. ABU!