PUTRAJAYA: There seems to be a difference of opinions concerning the issue of the granting of government contracts during the debates at Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s annual general meeting.
Armada (Youth) chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman criticised party members who were still focused on the culture of soliciting for contracts from those in power.
He added many delegates had brought up the issue of patronage, or the intention of certain members wanting contracts and positions being awarded to them.
He reminded Bersatu members of the struggles and sacrifices they had to make when they formed the party.
“Remember the time when we started Bersatu: we had no positions, no property, no contracts,” he said in his winding-up speech yesterday.
Syed Saddiq said a delegate had named during the debates a government official who allegedly gave out contracts.
“That should be a case for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. How can this be? Where is our dignity?” he added.
However, Bersatu vice-president Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the gains by the party must be protected at all costs – even by means of granting contracts to party division chiefs.
He reasoned that division chiefs must not be left behind when the party moved forward. And this included granting contracts to them so they may be able to defend their seats in the next general election.
Abdul Rashid, who is a former Election Commission chairman, appeared to criticise Syed Saddiq’s call to halt the culture of awarding contracts to personal associates.
He said telling people not to give jobs to others “is stupid”.
“This for me is a stupid opinion,” he said.
He also said Pribumi members must win the general election by whatever way possible, “by hook or by crook.”
Bersatu chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad clarified that any contracts awarded to party members would be based on merit and would follow the proper procedures.
“We are against corruption, but some of our people are very capable.
“They have been discriminated against by the previous government, so now they feel they can have a chance if there is a tender,” he said at a press conference.