44-Day Countdown to 13GE - If Suharto or Marcos had signed an Election Integrity Pledge at the height of their power and office, would it enhance or discredit such a pledge?

I am not surprised that there has been no response whatsoever whether from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the Cabinet or UMNO/Barisan Nasional coalition to my proposal in Kuching yesterday to attach a 10-Point Addendum to the Transparency International (TI) Election Integrity Pledge to ensure that signatories are signing a meaningful document to usher in a new era of integrity and good governance rather than being involved in a pure publicity stunt which will have absolutely no bearing or influence on the the quality of integrity and good governance of future governments.

Several Pakatan Rakyat MPs have signed the TI Election Integrity Pledge even before Najib appended his signature with great fanfare last Wednesday.

But it is precisely because Najib had signed the TI Election Integrity Pledge that grave doubts have been raised about the purpose and meaningfulness in signing such a pledge, as in his four years as Prime Minister, Najib had not shown any commitment or seriousness to combat corruption and abuses of power.

This is why Malaysia had plunged to the worst rankings in the annual TI Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in his four years as Prime Minister from 2009 to 2012 as compared to the past 18 years.

How can Najib convince Malaysians that he is now a "convert" in the fight against corruption and abuses of power when Malaysia in the past four years is most corrupt in the nation's 56-year history when compared to the previous five Prime Ministers, whether Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein, Tun Mahathir or Tun Abdulah?

Can Najib's signing of the TI Election Integrity Pledge absolve him of all the failures to check corruption and abuses of power in the past four years or his own involvements in corrupt deals and abuses of power?

Before I came to the ceramah, I had searched the Internet for the most corrupt leaders in the world.

For us in ASEAN, two names stand out, namely Suharto and Marcos, who are in the company of the "most corrupt leaders in the world" like the notorious and infamous kleptocrats like Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, who amassed a fortune of over US$5 billion while his country sank further and further into poverty and Sani Abacha of Nigeria whose family was regarded as a criminal organisation building a fortune estimated from US$3 billion to US$4 billion.

Who can forget Marcos or his wife, Imelda with her 2,500 pair of shoes? It was reported that when Marcos fled the Philippines, US Customs agents discovered 24 suitcases of gold bricks and diamond jewellery hidden in diapers bags and in addition certificates of gold bullions valued in the billions of dollars.

Marcos stole US$5 billion to US$10 billion from the public coffers and took them to the United States, Switzerland and other countries when he fled the Philippines after Filipinos finally rose up against his authoritarian corruption, political repression and human rights violations.

Suharto had the dubious honour of topping the all-time corruption league table, as Transparency International had described him as the No. 1 most corrupt leader in the world with an alleged haul of US$15 billion to US$35 billion in 31 years as President of Indonesia.

If Suharto or Marcos had signed an Election Integrity Pledge at the height of their power and office, would it enhance or discredit such a pledge?

What has further raised doubts about the TI Election Integrity Pledge after Najib's signature was the presence of the Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, who had put Malaysia on the international radar of anti-corruption campaigns after the allegations in the ground-breaking and explosive report by the Swiss-based NGO Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) last September which estimated the assets of Taib Mahmud's family at US$21 billion (RM64 billion), with the wealth of Taib himself put at a whopping US$15 billion (RM46 billion) after 30 years in office.

Did Najib cause a full investigation to be conducted whether by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission or by a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the alleged billion-dollar fortunes of Taib Mahmud after 30 years as Sarawak Chief Minister?

I want to sign the TI Election Integrity Pledge but I want it to be a meaningful and not a meaningless exercise.

This is why I have suggested a 10-point addendum to the TI Election Integrity Pledge to make it a meaningful document, and I had suggested five of the points should cover the following areas:

  1. Public Declaration of Assets by all present Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Chief Ministers and Mentris Besar.

  2. 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.

  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.

  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, as South Korea 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, South Korea underwent a second peaceful transition of national power in the South Korean Presidential elections.

Is Najib prepared to demonstrate his seriousness and commitment in making a meaningful "Election Integrity Pledge" by agreeing to the proposal of a 10-Point Addendum to ensure that we are entering a new era of integrity and good governance, regardless of who wins the 13GE?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur