Paul Low Seng Kuan must be the only Minister in the world responsible for integrity who is neither moved nor concerned about revelations of mega money politics and corruption like former Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir’s disclosure of RM1.5 billion spent by Barisan Nasional – Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Idris Harun said its more than RM1.5 billion – in the 13th General Election.
It is rather amusing, even comical but most outrageous that Paul Low had protested that he was “definitely” not sleeping on the job, when evidence had just surfaced publicly that he was doing exactly that – “sleeping” on the job.
Can Paul Low explain what he had done as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of integrity and good governance to Mukhriz’ shocking disclosure when speaking to UMNO grassroots members at a function in Kelantan on Monday that Najib had revealed that BN spent RM1.5 billion for the 13th General Election in a meeting with UMNO liaison chiefs?
Mukhriz has recounted that he was told about this after quizzing Najib in a meeting of the Prime Minister with UMNO liaison chiefs about the RM2.6 billion that was deposited into the latter’s personal bank accounts, which the prime minister stated was a political donation from the Middle East.
Mukhriz questioned how Najib could return RM2.03 billion of the RM2.6 billion if RM1.5 billion was spent on the election.
“What I find strange and curious about the RM2.6 billion which he claimed was an Arab donation is, if having spent RM1.5 billion in the 13th general election, only RM1.1 billion is left.
“How can he return RM2.03 billion to the Arabs? How did the (remainder of) RM1.1 billion become RM2 billion?
“I think even children can understand that the figures don’t add up.”
Mukhriz said he was shocked and questioned how BN could perform even worse than the previous general election despite spending such a huge sum.
If Paul Low was not “sleeping” on his job as the Minister in charge of integrity and good governance, he should be the most concerned and outraged person in the whole country that there was such colossal money politics and corruption in Malaysia, where Barisan Nasional outspent legal limits for election expenditures for all 222 parliamentary candidates by at least 34 times.
As the maximum ceiling for electoral expenditure by a parliamentary candidate is RM200,000, the total expenses the 222 BN parliamentary candidates from BN are allowed to spend by law came to RM44 million – while Najib’s RM1.5 billion election expenditure is over 34 times this legal sum!
The revelation by the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Idris Haron is even more alarming and shocking.
He said that BN spent more than RM1.5 billion for the 13th General Election, but the amount did not necessarily come from Najib’s RM2.6 billion “political” donation.
Can Paul Low explain what he has done, as a Minister not “sleeping on his job”, when such incontrovertible evidence of astronomical money politics and corruption in the 13th General Election have surfaced this week?
Did he kick up a row at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting expressing his disappointment if not his disgust at such money politics and corruption in the 13th General Election?
Does he know how much was in fact spent by BN in the entire 13GE campaign?
Has he initiated action to have a full investigation carried out to ascertain whether the Malacca Chief Minister was right that more than RM1.5 billion was spent by BN in the 13GE – if so, was it RM2 billion, RM2.5 billion or RM3 billion – where all these astronomical sums of money came from and where they had gone to?
Even I, despite my 50 years in politics, would want to know how Barisan Nasional could perform so poorly when they spent money like water in the 13th General Election?
I am sure even UMNO/BN leaders are wondering whether billions of ringgit had been spent in the 13th general election as BN had never spent that kind of money in previous general elections and could still win two-third majorities in Parliament until the 2008 general election.
The former longest-serving Prime Minister for 22 years leading the BN into five general elections, Tun Mahathir, is on public record as stating that winning elections does not require billions of ringgit.
If Paul Low is not sleeping on his job, let him tell us what is being done with regard to the disclosures not only by the former Kedah Mentri Besar but also by the incumbent Malacca Chief Minister about billions of ringgit spent by BN in the 13th General Election.
In other countries, such shocking revelations by the former Kedah Mentri Besar and the Malacca Chief Minister would have sparked off a national crisis and shaken Parliament to its very roots, but in Malaysia, there is apathy where even the Minister specifically in charge of integrity and good governance is unconcerned and not bothered.
This provides further proof of the relevance of the Citizen’s Declaration to Save Malaysia which 45 political and civil society leaders, including former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir and former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin and several former Cabinet Ministers, signed in Kuala Lumpur last Friday – the need not only for the removal of Najib as Prime Minister but for far-reaching democratic and institutional reforms to bring an end to such rampant corruption and money politics in Malaysia.
(Speech at the “Mana RM2.6 billion?” dialogue in Kok Lanas, Kelantan on Friday, 11th March 2016 at 12 noon)