Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election is about 3 more weeks to go. It is a normal fuzz that every general elections or by-election will see some party opportunists trying to gain something out of it.
I had a long chat with an entrepreneur from Bandar Tun Razak yesterday. He owns a medium-sized industry which supplies T-shirt, vest and other souvenir items.
He is also an Umno member. However, the party he loves is KILLING his business. The datas he showed me was shocking.
During the last general elections in March (forget about the previous ones), names like Abdullah Badawi, Najib Razak, Khir Toyo and other big names in Barisan Nasional are on the list of 'pemiutang' (debtors) to his company.
Whether their names were used by party opportunists as licences to place orders, nobody knows. However, I realised that this businessmen has always been made victim.
Why? BN opportunists placed orders for about 300,000 round-collar T-shirts, about 200,000 ordinary T-shirts, almost half a million BN stickers for motorbikes, about 200,000 BN vests, 120,000 towels, 300,000 pens, 380,000 caps and about 800,000 other items for the ruling party.
I dont know about other suppliers but I believe they were dealt with similar blow.
According to this guy, only 15 per cent of the placed orders were collected and paid. The balance has cost him about RM1 million as all items were either laminated or stitched with BN logos and hence cannot be sold to others.
It left him to no choice but to lay off 11 workers in order to sustain operations.
Just about a week ago, a few people from Terengganu Umno State Liaison Committee approached him for some orders. They refused to take the available stocks but demanded new ones at a cheaper rates and fast service.
The purchase order was for about 30,000 round-collar T-shirts, 15,000 collar T-shirts, 5,000 caps, 2,000 umbrellas, 10,000 ballpens, 2,000 vests, 3,000 bath towels and a few other items, all of which are meant for nomination days on January 7, 2009 and polling day ten days later.
They promised him to collect every single order without paying a single sen of deposit. That's the usual promises he got each time BN opportunists who 'cari makan' came to him, telling that the Mentri Besar, the vice-president or any high-ranking officials gave them the instructions.
There were times when everything was delivered, the payment came between 4-6 months later or didnt come at all, expect a phone call such as 'anggaplah ini sumbangan awak kepada parti' (just consider this as your contribution to the party).
So, this is how the ruling party helps nurture entrepreneurs...