By Adib Zalkapli
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today he expects Barisan Nasional (BN) to be defeated in the next general election because of widespread bribery in Umno.
He said that while he had no evidence to offer, most Malaysians perceived Umno to be a party rife with corruption with many of the candidates in the current party election campaign thought to be bribing their way to qualify in the various contests.
Writing in his popular chedet.com blog today, Dr Mahathir, who maintains a strong cult following, intensified his attack against money politics in Umno and repeated his accusations against unnamed party leaders whom he suspects of bribery.
Without naming any particular leader, he alleged that some candidates who had been trailing in nominations in the early days of the campaign had bribed their way to qualify.
“Candidates who were trailing during the early weeks suddenly obtained more nominations. They finally exceeded the quota and qualified to contest,” said Dr Mahathir.
“What has happened? Some people said (but I have no evidence), a lot of money was spent by those who were trailing earlier,” he added.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is the favourite to win the Umno deputy presidency, qualified to contest just 10 days after the start of Umno divisional meetings last month.
Datuk Seri Ali Rustam and Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib only qualified on Nov 8 and Nov 9 respectively.
If the trend continues, Dr Mahathir said, Umno will be defeated in the next general elections.
“The behaviour of these candidates and greedy Umno members who are prepared to be bribed will lead to the party being looked down on and hated by the Malays, Chinese and the Indians.
“They are watching quietly the dirty deeds of Umno members, as non-Umno members and retired members have no right to comment on Umno. So they keep quiet,” said Dr Mahathir.
“The opposition is also watching Umno and they are keeping quiet. The worse Umno becomes, the better for the opposition. The possibility of them winning is greater when Umno gets dirtier and is frowned upon by the voters,” he added.
He said the disastrous performance of Umno during the last General Election was the result of Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi’s failed leadership but the next elections would be different as the people will reject Umno as a whole, knowing that the candidates and the party practise corruption openly.
The former Prime Minister also warned Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is scheduled to take over the country’s leadership after the Umno polls in March next year, not to continue with Abdullah’s policies, as the transition would then be futile, and Umno would remain unpopular.
“You will be back to square one. And Umno will lose,” said Dr Mahathir.
Dr M predicts rampant bribery will bring down Umno at next polls
The Malaysian Insider, Malaysia