By SIM LEOI LEOI
PUTRAJAYA: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has raised questions about the credibility of certain candidates contesting the number two post in Umno asking how a candidate with a very bad history had managed to qualify to contest at the last minute.
“There is a lot of hanky-panky. When you know someone with a very bad history is still getting support there is a strong possibility that money politics is involved because, somehow, someone has come from very far behind to keep up.
“At first, in the initial weeks, some people succeeded in garnering enough nominations while others remained at the bottom. Then, suddenly, nominations for these people shot up. Why?” he asked reporters after delivering a keynote address on “Bangsa Malaysia” at the Perdana Leadership Foundation on Wednesday.
There are currently three contenders in the deputy president’s race - Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who is leading the pack with 91 nominations while Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam has 47 and Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib has 46.
Muhyiddin was the first to qualify for the race. Candidates need 39 nominations to qualify for the race.
Dr Mahathir said of the three candidates, he believed Muhyiddin was the best person for the job.
On money politics, Dr Mahathir said the only way to clamp down on the scourge in Umno was for all the names in the list of 900 complaints to be investigated and then removed from the party completely.
“They should be thrown in jail. That is a good way to use the Internal Security Act against them and not against someone writing some nonsense.
“Umno must be cleaned up. If they don’t, they will lose in the next general elections because the whole country knows that Umno leaders use money to put themselves up there.
“What’s the point of being party president when you are going to lose the elections?” he said.
Dr Mahathir also defended the quota system that was first put in place by him when he was party president, adding that this in itself was a safeguard against money politics.
“It was thought then it would be difficult to bribe 60 divisions. But as you can see, they can bribe 60 divisions and so the quota system has failed,” he said, adding that even if direct elections were put into place, there would still be money politics.