40-Day Countdown to 13GE - Malaysians invited to give their views whether I should sign TI-M’s Election Integrity Pact after signature by Najib

Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) chairperson Paul Low has conceded that the Election Integrity Pledge (EIP) signed by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak last week is not legally binding.

However, TI-M will hold the signatories, including Najib, responsible by publishing their wrongdoings on its website and social media such as Facebook and Twitter to put pressure on violators of the pledge.

I thank Paul Low for being frank about admitting that there is no legal way to enforce Najib’s signature of the EIP but what should be troubling for TI-M is that the EIP also lacks moral, ethical and persuasive force as its strategy of “name and shame pledge violators online” is unlikely to strike fear in the hearts of hardened violators.

This is why Najib could be a serial violator of the TI-M EIP in the 15-day Chinese New Year of the Snake, including the following instances:

  • Broke the pledge to uphold the principle of “Truth, integrity and ethical conduct and accountability” when Najib campaigned in Kuala Terengannu perpetrating the falsehood that “a vote for DAP is a vote for the oppression of the Muslims”;

  • Violated the pledge of “good governance and transparency” when Najib issued the racist and divisive directive to exclusively screen the May 13 film, Tanda Putera, to 3,000 Felda settlers although the Cabinet decided last November that the film was "inappropriate" to be screened because of "bias" in the portrayal of the May 13 riots in 1969.

  • Guilty of the corruption of “money politics” in the run-up to the 13GE with the lavish expenditure of over RM3.5 million to invite Korean K-Pop superstar to Penang for BN Chinese New Year Open House on Feb. 11 to perform Gangnam Style – when money politics in the run-up and during general election campaigns is the mother of rampant corruption in Malaysia.

How can TI-M’s “name and shame” strategy ever work with Najib and Umno/BN when they do not feel any tinge of shame over the 18-year annual TI Corruption Perception Index (CPI) series which has given the four-year Najib premiership the dubious record of being even more corrupt than all the previous five Malaysian PMs, namely Tunku Abdul Rahman, Razak, Hussein Onn, Dr. Mahathir and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi?

How can TI-M’s “name and shame” strategy with regard to its Election Integrity Pledge ever work or has any chance of success when so far Najib has ignored the worst and most ignominious “name and shame” strategy over a series of unresolved and long-standing international scandals, whether it be the C4 murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, the RM7 billion Scorpene submarine purchase from French defence company DCNS when Najib was Defence Minister and a series of mega defence procurement financial scandals like the RM400 million Defence Ministry privatization scam involving the Selangor Wanita UMNO chief Raja Ropiaah Raja Abdullah?

This was why I have posed the following questions in the past week following the fanfare of the Prime Minister signing the TI-M’s Election Integrity Pledge:

  1. If Suharto or Marcos, the two persons who have elevated ASEAN to global status in the company of the “most corrupt leaders in the world” like the notorious and infamous kleptocrats Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire and Sani Abacha of Nigeria, had signed an Election Integrity Pledge at the height of their power and office, would it enhance or discredit such a pledge?

  2. Has TI-M any mechanism to receive and investigate public complaints that signatories have violated the four principles enshrined in the Election Integrity Pledge to uphold “truth, integrity, ethical conduct and accountability” – whether in the run-up or during the 13GE campaign?

  3. Are there any provisions for TI-M to delete and disqualify signatories to its Election Integrity Pledge who blatantly violate its four principles in the run-up to and during the 13GE?

  4. Is TI-M agreeable to an addendum to its Election Integrity Pledge to ensure that signatories are signing a meaningful document to usher in a new era of integrity, which should spell out among other things the following commitments by the signatories:

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

(ii) “No money politics” pledge in the 13GE.

(iii) Pledge not to raise the spectre of May 13 or use the politics of fear, blackmail or hatred to intimidate or frighten voters;

(iv) Commitment to free, fair and clean elections; and

(v) Pledge to accept the verdict of the voters of the 13GE and to facilitate 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.

Instead of inviting Psy to Malaysia with his Gangnam Style, Malaysia should emulate the South Korean democratic transformation in 1997 when South Korea took the crucial step to become a mature democratic country when it effected a peaceful transition of power with Opposition presidential candidate Kim Dae-jung elected and sworn in as South Korean President.

Can Malaysia achieve a South Korean Spring which that country underwent in democratic transformation 15 years ago and witness a peaceful transition of power in Putrajaya in the 13GE?

I am prepared to sign TI-M's Election Integrity Pledge but it must be a meaningful event not a meaningless exercise serving to “whitewash” rampant corruption and gross abuses of power by hardened violators of integrity, transparency and accountability!

I invite Malaysians to give their views whether I should sign TI-M’s Election Integrity Pact after the signature by Najib, whether through the social media or through other direct channels.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur