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Learn From PAS On How To Raise Party Funds, Bersatu Told

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) has been told to learn from opposition party, PAS on ways to raise funds for party activities.

This is instead of following Bersatu vice-president Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman’s call for government contracts to be granted to the party’s division chiefs to gain resources and win the elections.

Geostrategist Assoc Prof Dr Azmi Hassan of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia described Abdul Rashid’s suggestion, which was made during his winding-up speech at Bersatu’s second annual general meeting recently, as inappropriate.

“It is unbecoming for a party that was established to rid the so-called corrupt ways of Umno. Yes, it is true that Bersatu, being a new party, is having a very hard time raising money for its activities. They can’t rely on their members like Pas which has strong grassroots support.

“Maybe they should explore other means and I believe the party should emulate Pas, and not Umno, on how to raise party funds, despite it being in the current government,” Azmi told the New Straits Times Press today.

Asked if Bersatu could explore having its own building and collect funds through rentals like Umno, Azmi said it would be difficult for the party to do so at this point.

“It is still at its infancy stage. It will be difficult for them to follow the footsteps of Umno to generate income via asset rentals. Umno took a long period to achieve this.”

Azmi said Abdul Rashid’s statement, which had reportedly received rousing applause and cheers from delegates, had dented Bersatu’s image as the poeple had taken the remark in a negative light.

“By observing how delegates reacted to Abdul Rashid’s statement, I think that outsiders will no doubt form the perception that the party is no different then Umno. This is in terms of making use of the government’s influence for its own benefit.

“But luckily for Bersatu, they have members in the likes of Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman who believes in clean party governance,” added Azmi.

Under such situation, Azmi felt that it was best that Abdul Rashid and Bersatu offered an apology over the statement.

Azmi said a majority of Malaysians will accept Abdul Rashid’s apology since he is considered a novice in politics.

Meanwhile, Professor Dr Zaid Ahmad of Universiti Putra Malaysia saw no problem with division chiefs or any party members being awarded government projects as long as they are qualified and fit for the job.

“He or she should be chosen on merit and we cannot discriminate if one is a division chief or not. If one was a contractor before becoming a politician and proven to have a good track record, why not?

“At the end of the day, the government projects must benefit the people.”

“It will be unwise to award government projects to unqualified individuals. This could potentially lead to the project being abandoned as they could see it only as a source to gain money,” said Zaid.

Zaid said it was better if a mechanism was developed and Malaysia could learn to do this from other countries such as Germany where its funding for operations are dispersed by its government in accordance to the size of a political party, the majority of votes obtained as well as its influence.

Zaid said that the mechanism practised abroad, however, must be tweaked to suit the local political landscape. (NST)

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