Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Money Politics

Is there anything at all that can be done today without using money? I really wonder for even when comforting myself in the bathroom the electricity bill will increase, the water bill will go up,and more toilet papers must be purchased. Even digging a hole in the backyard or unclogging the drains needs money to buy the necessary equipment or chemicals to be used.

So how can the huge wheels of government function without lots of money. And how can the political parties function to get elected into the government without spending huge sums of money to win the election?

It's therefore nonsensical to say that money politics is a "no-no". Everything that a political party needs to do to win an election must be financed. The question is whether it will be financed by the political party concerned or, if the party is now in power,by the government. What and where is the dividing line between work and expenses which can be paid by the government and that which must be paid by the political parties or by the politicians who would like the work to be done?

Simple questions but the answers can be very messy. Modern day government would have already planned all that it would like to do in the next few years (usually called the master plan of 3,4,5 years and even longer, beyond the 5 year life of the current government). The major projects to be undertaken would already have been identified. But many smaller projects, sub-projects, tasks and new and urgent work have not.The need to get these works done is often identified towards the end a government's term and the approach of a fresh election. That's when money is dished out in response to any demand which is backed by some political pressure.Millions are dished out to win over the unhappy or dissatisfied electorates.

It is here that political and societal or developmental objectives become inseparable. Projects necessitated by a political need can be easily brought under the approved government development plan and be financed fully by the government. After all the project is still for the purpose of promoting the welfare and wellbeing of the public although it could have been forced on the political leadership by some pressure group whose support the political party in power needs badly. Many of such projects emerge as the political party in power stepped up its campaign to gain more support for the coming election and millions can be dished out each day.

The promise of money for projects which had never been included in the set long term plan, raises the issue of whether such promise amount to corruption. Sometimes the demand for the project arises only when the leaders of the political party in power ie. the government, go to certain areas to campaign, or merely to explain government policy or just to meet the public.As a result millions are promised for projects approved almost on the spot. The approval may even take the form of a bargain - "You give us your support and we approve the project which wil cost so many hundreds of million." How then can we stop the opposition from saying that such promises border on corruption? The opposition will certainly not be able to offer such promises as it does not control the development fund of the nation.

Is this not money politics or is money politics confined to actually giving some money to people to vote for certain candidates contesting an election for certain positions in the party - in other words buying votes? Is buying support with the promise of giving money for projects, not included in the term? If not does it constitute corruption? If neither then what is it and is it morally and ethically sound? I kept scratching my head to find an answer until a lot of hair has already fallen.


kaykuala said...

Akhi Norzah,
Money politics run a fine line that one gets confused with the politician's answer to justify it.

1.I provide a service so I should benefit
2.My proposal is superior but I must make sure
3. If there are sponsors for my Haj trip why should I refuse to accept
4. I deserve high office but others have strong cables

There are lots more. They refuse to see the big picture that their acts are morally wrong. They instead rationalise. The ends apparently justify the means.

Obviously their answers failed the logic and moral tests. We laugh at their childish answers. They laugh just as much for getting what they desired. But they are still answerable in the thereafter!


norzah said...

Justifiable or not, Akhi Kaykuala it continues to determine the course of political development in this country. Two dire results. You must make money to win election and stay in power, people elect u to get some money not because you're an astute and dedicated leader.
Result: rich people buy politicians to make them richer and the populace, given more money, cause inflation to skyrocket. The country thrives in money illusion.

Millions and billions are now being dished out to make the illusion work for the forthcoming election.