Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang
in Parliament on Friday, 25th January 2008:
Election Commission violating the National Integrity Plan in refusing
to recognize the concept of caretaker government when Parliament is
dissolved to ensure free, fair and clean general election
I have received a shocking response from the Election Commission
declaring that it does not recognize the concept of caretaker government
when Parliament is dissolved to ensure free, fair and clean general
The Secretary of the Election Commission Datuk Kamaruzaman bin Mohd Noor
in a letter dated 17th January 2008 but faxed to my office on January
22, 2008 in response to a letter dated 7th January 2008 from Lau Weng
San, Secretary to Parliamentary Opposition Leader’s Office asking for
the fixing of an appointment between the Election Commission Chairman
Tan Sri Abdul Rashid and myself, wrote:
“Sukacita dimaklumkan bahawa
dalam kerangka undang-undang pilihan raya Negara kita termasuk
Perelembagaan Persekutuan tidak menyatakan adanya ‘Caretaker
Government’. Oleh yang demikian, apabila pembubaran Parlimen atau Dewan
Undangan Negeri berlaku, maka kerajaan yang memerintah sebelum
pembubaran tersebut akan terus menerajui kerajaan sehinggalah sebuah
kerajaan baru ditubuhkan selepas keputusan pilihan raya diumumkan secara
rasmi oleh Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) Malaysia.
“Adalah dimaklumkan bahawa SPR bukan jabatan atau agensi kerajaan yang
bertanggungjawab untuk memberikan tafsiran mengenai sesuatu perkara atau
fasal yang terkandung di dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Ini kerana
pihak yang lebih layak untuk memberi apa-apa interpretasi mengenai
Perlembagaan Persekutuan ialah Jabatan Peguam Negara. Justeru itu, tuan
adalah dinasihatkan untuk berhubung terus dengan Jabatan berkenaan jika
tuan memerlukan apa-apa interpretasi mengenai sesuatu perkara atau fasal
yang menyentuh Perlembagaan Persekutuan.”
The fifth principle of Rukunegara
committed the government and every Malaysian to “Good Behaviour and
Morality” but Malaysia has never been subjected to a more intense attack
of the most brazen disregard and contempt for fundamental decencies of
good behaviour, morality and the principles of good governance as in
recent times – with the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape
in the past two weeks providing the most blatant and flagrant of
But such brazen disregard and contempt for good behaviour, morality and
good governance are not just confined to the circus of the Lingam Tape
Royal Commission of Inquiry but is to be found in every department of
The latest example is furnished by the Election Commission with its
contemptuous dismissal of the concept of caretaker government when
Parliament is dissolved – expected during the Chinese New Year period.
The Election Commission is violating the National Integrity Plan in
refusing to recognize the concept of caretaker government when
Parliament is dissolved to ensure free, fair and clean general election.
Nobody is asking the Election Commission to interpret the Constitution.
The Election Commission is also barking up the wrong tree when it claims
that the Constitution is silent on the “caretaker government” concept.
Are the national integrity concept and the National Integrity Plan to be
found in the Constitution, and is the Election Commission immune from
having to honour and uphold the principles of institutional good
behaviour and integrity in the discharge of its constitutional duties to
conduct free, fair and clean general election?
Or Will the Election Commission turn around and say that as the
Constitution does not say anything about “free, fair and clean
election”, the Election Commission has no constitutional duty to ensure
that the next general election is free, fair and clean, although the
Election Commission is going to spend RM200 million, the most expensive
general election in the nation’s 50-year history?
The Election Commission is being most irresponsible in suggesting that a
different government would be constituted to be the “caretaker
government” after dissolution of Parliament.
This is not the case. The Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and
Cabinet Ministers remain the same, with them drawing their salaries and
emoluments from the public coffers despite the dissolution of
However, they must be mindful that they are only a “caretaker
government” after the dissolution of Parliament and they should not
abuse government positions, machinery, resources and funds for any
electioneering purpose for a political party or candidate.
A candidate, who benefits unfairly from any such “unhealthy” and
dishonest practices, as campaigning assistance by the Prime Minister,
Deputy Prime Minister or Cabinet Minister through the abuse of their
government positions or misuse of public funds and resources, should be
subject to disqualification – and such penalties also apply to Cabinet
Ministers who abused their “caretaker government” role as illustrated by
the classic case of the disqualification of Indian Prime Minister,
Indira Gandhi who misused the “caretaker government” trust in flying
around in government helicopter for party electioneering campaign.
The Election Commission would have failed its constitutional duty as
well as the National Integrity Plan in rejecting the concept of
“caretaker government” after dissolution of Parliament – which is all
about honesty, integrity and ethical conduct.
I call on the Election Commission Chairman and Commissioners to convene
an emergency meeting to review and rescind the Election Commission’s
rejection of the “caretaker government” concept after dissolution of
Parliament – for it will be a signal that the next general election
could be the dirtiest one in the nation’s history.
In this connection, I call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi to declare whether he accepts and will honour the
“caretaker government” concept when Parliament is dissolved, instructing
all Cabinet Ministers not to abuse and misuse government positions,
machinery, resources and funds for electioneering purposes so as to
maintain a strict and clear distinction between government and party.
It is precisely because the clear and important distinctions between
government, party and individual interests have been blurred which is
the cause of the rampant corruption and abuses of power in the country
making a total mockery of the National Integrity Plan launched by
Abdullah in May 2004.
Kit Siang, Parliamentary
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman