SEVERAL ministers and mentris besar who lost in the party elections have alleged that money politics cost them victory.
They claimed that delegates were less concerned about track records and performance compared to the “distribution of gifts”.
Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin did not dismiss the allegations outright, saying the disciplinary board would continue with its investigations.
He said that action could still be taken against those found to have breached party ethics, although the elections were over.
The top party leadership, he assured, would not interfere in the board’s investigations.
He, however, refused to speculate if money politics had been the reason why all but one of five mentris besar and chief ministers had failed to secure places on the 25-seat supreme council. Only Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman managed to get on the party’s policy-making body.
“There are some things I can say and some I can’t,” he said.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, who lost in his bid for one of the three vice-president posts, wanted the board to analyse the results.
“We cannot gauge it yet but the element of money politics will have to be analysed. I hope the disciplinary board will probe deeper into the matter.
“Talk of gifts is the top topic of the day. It would seem that the advice given by the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister were hardly heeded,” he said.
Dr Rais said the supreme council winners’ list was a clear example why the disciplinary board should intervene.
Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamad Hasan also did not rule out the possibility of money politics as the main factor that had worked against him.
He said he was surprised when he lost.
“Maybe they don’t like my face, I don’t know,” he added.
Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, meanwhile, said he had learnt “something” while on the campaign trail this time around.
“I will bring this up at the next party convention.
“This is not the place to talk about it as it can have a negative impact on Umno’s image,” he said, adding that action must be taken if the party wanted to be accepted by all.
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman refused to comment about money politics, saying that it could be detrimental to Umno’s future.
Another vanquished leader who wanted to remain anonymous said he believed that most, if not all of the winners, had indulged in money politics one way or another.
“Some delegates have personally told me that they had received a few hundred (ringgit) each,” he said.
Asked why he had not complained to the disciplinary board, the visibly angry leader said it would have been useless as those involved were already sitting on the supreme council.
Datuk Noh Omar, who had garnered the third highest vote for the supreme council, refuted the allegations, saying that those who won had worked hard to convince the delegates.
Noh, the Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister, said that in his case, his good track record and performance had endeared him to the delegates.
”There are 11 agencies that serve various groups of people under my ministry.
“Thus I am known to most delegates,” he said, explaining that in 2004 when he was the Deputy Internal Security Minister, he had come in seventh.
Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam suggested that Umno change its rules so all mentris besar and chief ministers are automatically appointed to the supreme council.
“Mentris besar and state liaison committee chiefs should be made supreme council members without having to contest. Otherwise, if they have to contest, and they lose, it is not good for the party.
“That could become an issue to be capitalised on by the Opposition,” he said.