KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — Senator Shahanim Mohamad Yusoff has admitted to distributing money to Umno members during her party’s annual general assembly here last week, after photos of her in action spread on the Internet.
However, the Sungai Petani Umno deputy chief defended the cash handouts as her attempt to “share her fortune with the less fortunate” members of her rural constituency in Kedah who had made the rare visit to the federal capital.
“I’m Shahanim Binti Mohamad Yusoff and I admit to giving money to Umno members and constituents from the villages who come to KL once a year during the general assembly,” she wrote on her Facebook page last Friday.
Included in her post was a screenshot taken from UK-based whistleblower site Sarawak Report with an undated photo of Shahanim holding a stack of greenish-coloured paper in her hands on board a bus.
An accompanying caption alleged Shahanim to be handing out RM50 bills to Wanita Umno on a shuttle bus.
Shahanim said she was insulted and condemned after the photo of her in the bus allegedly went “viral” on social media.
“Let me be insulted for giving, rather than ignoring my villagers who had come to KL. Let the whole world make this viral, but I am still me. I will continue to share my fortune with the less fortunate.
“One has to have a big heart to be a leader. I am me and I admit that I had given. Thanks to Allah, we could share this fortune, not just among the aunties but also odd job workers and poor students,” she wrote in Bahasa Malaysia.
Shahanim’s Facebook post has been shared over 500 times and drawn over 390 “likes”.
However, she did not elaborate on the source of the money.
Allegations of money politics in Umno have been raised repeatedly, with its former president and retired prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad admitting the practice to be prevalent even during his time.