How much money to win an election?

Driven past one lately?

It is a difficult topic to get into, and also one to lose the attention of readers.

Because, when it is about political fundraising, it is the issue where the narrative is similar and shared around but never debated, not in the way it needs to be.

I see the prime minister’s party picture and his party’s emblem and messages all over. By the roads, next to building, when I’m surfing YouTube and when clicking any app.

These things cost a lot of money, especially when it is done at the scale underway, and there are nine days left. Which means, more media pounding.

Be mindful, the media overkill is a financial commitment.

How is it paid for?

I say this, not as a bitter member of one of the parties languishing in the opposition with low success rates over the decades — OK, it is difficult not to express a level of bitterness — but with earnest interest as a citizen.

If one side can spend as much as they clearly are, how are they raising the money?

After all this is a party, Umno, which has over time always prided in how common people contributed to the modest undertaking of sending the delegation to negotiate Merdeka back in the 1950s.

Salleh Said Keruak, Umno treasurer.

There is of course the assets Umno owns, the various companies, and thereafter the various companies associated with the party.

Which also suggests a culture of barter between politicians and businessmen in a country where the lines dividing them have blurred a long time ago.

The principle concern is, if these companies and those who run them have to be in positions to assist with electioneering, would that also mean these companies and as follows their owners/managers benefit from the relationship?

And if such is the case, perhaps the biggest issue ought to challenge our society is about the cosy relationship between those with power, be it political or wealth, and how both those classes will protect the interest of the lower classes in the years between elections.

I suppose in the current situation, Umno has to decide for itself. Does it spend as much as possible, which means raking up a long list of favours to be resolved in time, or restrains itself in asking how much is truly necessary to contest in an election where you, Umno, have been the incumbent for 63 years?

To rationalise so as a party, not tied to commercial interests above the interests of the common people.

In things like minimum wage, or asserting equal opportunies in either SMEs or GLCs, or exerting more regulations on conglomerates.

Those are just items from a long list of possibilities when too many favours are asked to win an election.

This is the challenge, this is the question.

It’s worth the ask. For if there is no restrain, then there is no end to what can be exchanged in order to win an election as conclusively as humanly possible.

Which should affect the common man’s thinking the next time spotting an electronic billboard in the city parading the dark blue and a promise of a better nation.

Once again.

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