Former minister Rafidah Aziz has questioned whether Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's acceptance of RM2.6 billion, said to be from a Middle Eastern donor, has opened Umno to being manipulated by foreigners.
"Umno is the backbone of the BN government. Influencing Umno would mean influencing the government," Rafidah is quoted as saying in a Sinar Harian report today.
She questioned whether the alleged political donation would mean the government is now indebted and could be influenced by outsiders.
"The question is, what pacts have been made for the contribution? What was promised (to the donor)?
"What is the donor expecting or hoping by donating such a large sum of money," asked the Umno veteran who is often described as "Iron Lady" for her outspokenness.
Rafidah added that the RM2.6 billion incident has taken money politics plaguing Umno to new heights, and that other Umno leaders were also in some way responsible for the fiasco.
"Umno leaders at all levels are in some way affected by the issue of money (RM2.6 billion) in the party president's account.
"The money has gone down to the grassroots and surely many have 'got a taste' of it.
"Should we not reject money politics so that whoever is chosen as leader will be genuinely capable to serve?" she said.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) had in July reported that US$681 million from a mysterious Middle East-linked company, Tanore Finance, was deposited into Najib's ( photo ) personal bank accounts.
WSJ reported that another RM42 million from state-owned SRC International also went into Najib's personal bank accounts.
Najib had initially threatened to sue the WSJ for the report but later admitted to receiving the US$681 million, claiming it was a political donation.
However, he has yet to address the RM42 million said to be from the Finance Ministry-owned company.