45-Day Countdown to 13GE - Proposal for a 10-point addendum to TI's Election Integrity Pledge

It is quite entertaining to see UMNO/Barisan Nasional leaders trying to create a song and dance on statements by Pakatan Rakyat leaders voicing reservations about the authority, credibility and legitimacy of Transparency International's (TI) Election Integrity Pledge after the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, had signed the pledge.

This is because Najib must bear full responsibility for Malaysia plunging to the lowest rankings of the annual TI Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in the past 18 years.

Swiftly after Najib's statement in Kuching on Friday that Pakatan Rakyat leaders should sign the TI Election Integrity Pledge if they are committed in fighting corruption and abuse of power, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz quickly followed suit, dramatically declaring yesterday that "When the time comes, I will sign to affirm that I am not involved in corruption, crime and have no debt with the government".

Many thanks to Nazri, for he had reminded every Malaysian that Najib had failed to make such an affirmation when signing the TI Election Integrity Pledge on Wednesday that he is not involved in corruption, crime and have no debt with the government!

Is Najib going to have a re-signing ceremony for the TI Election Integrity Pledge so that he could categorically and unequivocally make such a declaration, or is it because to use Nazri's words, he is "scared and have something to hide"?

I do not think Nazri or any UMNO/BN leader, including the two former Prime Ministers Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah would dare to contradict the statement that of all the six Prime Ministers in the nation's 56-year history, Najib as incumbent Prime Minister is hounded and haunted by the most number of mega allegations of corruption, cronyism and abuse of power - including involvement in an allegation of murder!

Now, many more allegations of corruption, cronyism and abuse of power are awaiting expose particularly by private investigator P. Balasubramaniam and carpet trader Deepak Jaikishan.

Nazri cannot be more wrong when he said that "only scared people are afraid to sign and give various reasons for not signing it".

Several Pakatan Rakyat MPs have signed the TI Election Integrity Pledge even before Najib and I myself have no problem with signing the TI Election Integrity Pledge.

However, I developed reservations after Najib had signed the TI Election Integrity Pledge, which reminded me of the story of Martin Luther, the father of Reformation who rebelled against the Roman Catholic Church over the sale of indulgences to be absolved from sin.

Have we in Malaysia reached a stage where the sins of corruption could be absolved with a signature?

If a Prime Minister who had caused Malaysia to descend to the worst levels of corruption of any Prime Minister in the nation's 56-year-history could overnight transform himself into a crusader against corruption and abuse of power just because he had put his signature to the TI Election Integrity Pledge, isn't this the greatest insult and dishonouring to all honest men and women who over the decades had stood up for honesty and integrity?

It would appear that the TI Election Integrity Pledge has a greater transformative power than Najib's various National Transformation Programmes and Plans as to transform him into a great fighter against corruption!

Najib has been called a "false democrat". Is he going to have an added appellation as a "false fighter against corruption"?

I am prepared to sign TI's Election Integrity Pledge but it must be a meaningful event, not like the sale of indulgences in the Middle Ages to absolve sins with cash, but in Malaysia, to absolve corruption with a signature!

I propose a 10-point addendum to TI Election Integrity Pledge to ensure signatories are signing a meaningful document to usher in a new era of integrity.

The full details of this 10-point addendum can be discussed and decided by TI and the signatories in a roundtable conference, but it should include the following five points:

  1. Public Declaration of Assets by all present Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Chief Ministers and Mentris Besar for two periods: (a) before they held political office and (b) at present.

    As UMNO/Barisan Nasional Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Mentris Besar and Chief Ministers are required to submit their declaration of assets to the Prime Minister when they hold office and after every general elections, it should be no great problem to just making public these declarations of assets.

  2. Pledge by signatories to the Election Integrity Pledge of "No money politics" in the 13th General Elections.

    Every ringgit of expenditure for the 13GE, whether by the candidate or the political party concerned, must be accounted and audited.

    A special audit commission to audit every ringgit of expenditure for the 13GE, whether by candidate or political party concerned, should be formed which would make public its audit after the 13GE.

  3. Pledge by signatories not to raise the spectre of May 13 or use politics of fear, blackmail or hatred to intimidate or frighten voters.

  4. Commitment by signatories to free, fair and clean elections which is to be monitored by a Fair and Clean Elections Commission as well national and international observes. The ban on the Australian Senator Xenophon from entering Malaysia should be lifted as there is no valid reason to deny him entry or to deport him.

  5. Pledge by signatories to accept the verdict of the voters in the 13GE fully committing them to a peaceful transition of power in Putrajaya if this is the will of the electorate.

Malaysians do not want an Arab Spring involving bloodshed and revolution. What Malaysians want is a Korean Spring, which preceded Malaysia by 15 years in effecting a peaceful transition of power when an Opposition candidate Kim Dae-jung was elected and sworn in as President. Again in 2007, there was a second peaceful transition of national power in the South Korean Presidential elections.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur