Want to contest? Got money or not?

Opinion  |  Francis Paul Siah
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | The main reason for the dispute over seats among political parties is that there are more candidates than seats.

The quarrels over seats from both sides occur before every election and at times, it can be so intense that those jostling for seats would unashamedly, stupidly even, bring their quarrels into the public sphere.

It is as if they want the public to judge who is right or wrong. Little do these quarrelsome politicians realise that people are laughing or even sneering at them for their silly public displays of greed for power.

If you want more seats for your party, irrespective of whether you deserve or are worthy of them, isn’t that greed for power?

Leaders of political parties must realise the public, in general, have had enough of such quarrels over seats. They had seen and heard enough during past elections. Sadly, this is now happening again in the run-up to GE14.

I was involved in seat talks among the opposition parties in Sarawak during the 1996 state election and the 1999 general election for the then Barisan Alternatif coalition. I can vouch here that it was not a very pleasant task.

I can recall the many times I asked myself: “What the heck am I doing here when others come to the negotiating table with conditions? A negotiation has to start with a clean slate.”

You see, there is always the political animal within us. We can agree today but after sleeping on it, we change our mind tomorrow. And we would be ready with all kinds of reasons or excuses for our U-turn.

Such indiscipline among politicians must be nipped in the bud.

Seriously, I wouldn’t be surprised to see multi-cornered fights in many seats come GE14 because there are people who are adamant on contesting as they think they are the better candidate. Personal glorification is a normal human reaction perhaps, but one that is totally selfish and lacking the team spirit.

Now, let me be blunt and ask all these wannabe candidates: So you want to contest? Do you have the money?

I make no apology for bringing up the subject of money. Can any serious candidate honestly tell me that they do not need funds, and lots of it, for the elections?

Gone are the days when politicians could win by riding on their popularity and charisma alone. These days, no money, no talk.

Malaysiakini reader Sinan Belawan seemed to agree with me. In his comment on my earlier article on election funding, he wrote: "Money is the mother's milk of politics. It must keep flowing. Without the financial and human resources, don’t even consider being a candidate for GE14...

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