KUALA LUMPUR: It cost the Barisan Nasional about RM600 million to effectively campaign in the last general election (GE13).
That was the frank admission by Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz during a dialogue session with the Umno Overseas Alumni club at the Malaysia Tourism Centre (Matic) in Jalan Ampang here yesterday.
“The price tag was about RM600 million, from conducting pre-election activities for the people until voting day.
“And the money came from the Barisan Nasional chairman himself,” he said when asked about the RM2.6 billion said to be from an Arab donor, which was deposited into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal accounts in March 2013, and the part use of such funds for GE13.
“I was the law minister for nine years and in Malaysia it is not wrong to ask for funds from outside to support the running of election campaigns and it is also not wrong to put the money into one’s own account too.”
He added what could be deemed wrong was as to the source of such funds.
“If it was from money laundering activities and bribes, then that would be wrong.
“But the money was not from either of such illegal activities,” Nazri said.
Nazri said he too received money from Najib for the purpose of helping him win his parliamentary seat of Padang Rengas in Perak in GE13.
“I received RM10,000 to pay the candidate deposit to the Election Commission when I was nominated to contest in Padang Rengas along with RM200,000 to spend for campaigning because the election law allows the candidate to spend a maximum of RM200,000 for campaigning purposes.
“Then, another RM300,000 was given to 60 Umno branches in my constituency for community activities,” he said.
On that note, Nazri also hit back at his former cabinet colleagues, Muhyiddin Yassin (former deputy prime minister) and Shafie Apdal (former rural and regional development minister) for having turned against the prime minister after having taken funds from the same source for their election campaign and activities in GE13.
“Shafie has over 400 branches and Muhyiddin has over 100 branches (in their constituency). They got more than I did.
“Why did they not question the source of the funds before,” Nazri said.
Both Muhyiddin and Shafie were sacked from the cabinet on July 2015. Both left Umno and have since formed new opposition parties, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) and Parti Warisan Sabah, respectively.