UMNO members agree to channel political donations into leader's personal account

UMNO members agree to channel political donations into leader's personal account

PETALING JAYA - Umno members are agreeable with the practice of political donations being channeled into the party president's personal account.

Supreme council member Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said in the past, donations were distributed into trustee accounts, which led to a lot of complications.

"When Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wanted to hand over the party assets to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, he faced a hard time as proxy members did not declare the funds as belonging to the party.

"Some members who were going through divorce faced situations where their spouses declared that the asset did not belong to Umno," he said in an interview over TV1 on Tuesday.

Rahman said he and fellow party members felt more confident with the donations being placed in the president's account as it was safer there.

"In fact it is the responsibility of the party president to find funds for party activities," he said adding that he was thankful of Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's effort to find money to sustain the party's "Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)" activities.

Asked on his opinion about the statement by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission that Najib was innocent on the charges of stealing the people's money through the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Rahman said he was relieved.

"Why would I not be happy if my president has been proven innocent.

"In fact, if he had committed such an offence, God forbid, there is no need for Clare Brown or Wall Street Journal (WSJ) because Umno members themselves would expose the issue," he said.

Rahman, the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister, said it was a noble act by donors who did not impose conditions.

"On previous occasions where money was channeled to certain quarters, they were subjected to conditions and that made the arrangements illegal. However, those who donated money to Umno were well wishers.

"It is the same as us giving money to Palestinians and Gaza because we believe in the cause," he added.

Rahman said he hoped for a transparent way in dealing with political donations in future general elections.

"All political parties should acknowledge the call of netizens for the reform of political funding," he said.

On the PetroSaudi and 1MDB issue, Rahman said the public should only focus on how much money came in return from the agreement.

"We invested USD$1.9bil (S$2.6 billion) and got back USD2.38bil so that means we made money for the country and that is all that matters.

"Matters like Jho Low and Paris Hilton in a champagne party should not even be made an issue," he said.

Rahman said netizens should be rational when it comes to such sensitive matters.

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