Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 25th April 2010:
MACC’s latest and greatest test - dare it investigate the Prime Minister whether he had violated Election Offences Act 1954 for RM3 million electoral bribery in Hulu Selangor by-election?
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Malaysia’s Corruption Perception Index 2010 ranking of Transparency International are already reeling from two serious blows:
(i) the mysterious death of DAP aide Teoh Beng Hock at the MACC Headquarters falling from 14th to 5th floor on July 16 last year and the inability of the Teoh family and the Selangor State Government to persuade renowned Thai pathologist Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunand to return to Malaysia continue her testimony at the Teoh Beng Hock inquest because of “pressures” on the Thai Government from the Malaysian side; and
(ii) the farce of the prosecution and acquittal on corruption charges of the two Perak “frogs”, Perak State Assemblymen Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu who played key roles in the illegal and undemocratic toppling of the Pakatan Rakyat Perak State government in February last year.
Now, there is a third and bigger headache for the MACC.
On the eve of the Hulu Selangor by-election, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak campaigned for the Barisan Nasional candidate in Rasa and approved RM3 million for rebuilding Rasa Chinese Primary School but with one big condition. Najib publicly declared:
“If we win this by-election, you can come to Kuala Lumpur the next day to look for me. I will write a personal letter to approve the money and it will be transferred to the school board’s account. If we lose, don’t have to come.”
I am shocked and saddened by this episode, for two reasons.
Firstly, Najib had tried to convince Malaysians and foreign investors in his first year as Prime Minister that he had learnt from past Barisan Nasional mistakes which had not only caused the national economic crisis facing the country of being stuck in the “middle income trap” but also risk being overtaken economically by other ASEAN countries to become the “sick man of Southeast Asia”.
This is probably why in his Open Letter to Hulu Selangor voters yesterday, Najib admitted that BN had made mistakes and asked for an opportunity to “realize mistakes and to make amends”.
But has the BN government really realized its mistakes and would make amends?
Then Najib should not have used the alleged RM3 million approval for Rasa Chinese Primary School as bait for votes in the Hulu Selangor by-election but to come straight-out to announce the RM3 million allocation without strings attached – as education should not become an election or by-election plaything.
One grave BN mistake all these years is to trivialise and politicize education with the BN government waking up from total indifference to the plight, needs and rights of Chinese primary schools with regard to infrastructure, development and building of new schools to meet growing school-going needs only during vote-seeking times at general elections or by-elections.
The Barisan Nasional government should stop playing politics with education, whether Chinese primary schools or other schools and levels of education.
Instead of demonstrating that the BN government has at last woken up to its past mistakes, Najib has done the opposite – he has done something which none of the previous five Prime Ministers had ever done in promising to sign a RM3 million cheque for a Chinese primary school the very next day if BN wins in a by-election, spelling out clearly that there would be no such allocation if BN lost!
This makes nonsense of the New Economic Model announced by Najib at the end of March. The New Economic Model had given top priority in ensuring a world-class education system from primary, secondary to tertiary, stressing:
“Globalisation has created a fierce competition for talent, forcing companies and government to recognize that people are the most valuable assets. To compete on a regional and global scale, Malaysia must retain and attract talent. Malaysia must be seen by its people and others as a land of equal opportunity to earn a good living and provide a secure, happy life for each individual and family.”
Najib has gone against all these commitments in the New Economic Model.
Is Najib seriously suggesting that all the high-sounding promises in his 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme and New Economic Model, just like the alleged approval for RM3 million for Rasa Chinese primary school, are all subject to BN winning the Hulu Selangor by-election?
I am outraged by the silence and complicity of MCA leaders who were present when Najib made the RM3 million bait for Rasa Chinese primary school in exchange for votes – and they are all the top MCA leaders like MCA President Datuk Dr. Chua Soi Lek, two MCA Ministers Datuk Liew Tiong Lai and Datuk Kong Cho Ha and two MCA Deputy Ministers Datuk Wee Ka Siong and Datuk Chor Chee Heung. The MCA leaders have again brought shame to the more than one million MCA members in the country.
The second reason for my shock and sadness is that Najib had violated the Election Offences Act 1957 when he promised to approve RM3 million for Rasa Chinese primary school tomorrow provided the BN wins the Hulu Selangor by-election.
Section 10(1) of the Election Offences Act, on “Bribery”, provides that it is an election offence for any person to promise “any money or valuable consideration” to any voter to induce him “to vote or refrain from voting” at any election – something which Najib clearly committed with his promise tomorrow to sign approval for RM3 million for Rasa Chinese Primary School if BN wins the Hulu Selangor by-election today but not a single sen if BN loses!
This is MACC’s latest and greatest test - dare it investigate the Prime Minister whether he had violated the Election Offences Act 1954 for RM3 million electoral bribery in Hulu Selangor by-election?
If not, the trinity of MACC woes – the mysterious death of Teoh Beng Hock at MACC headquarters, the farce of prosecution and acquittal of the two Perak “frogs” for corruption and the MACC’s timidity over investigation as to whether Najib had violated Election Offences Act 1954 for RM3 million electoral bribery in Hulu Selangor by-election - will plunge MACC’s credibility to a new depth and would cause Malaysia’s Corruption Perception Index 2010 of Transparency International to a record low placing at par with those of corrupt African and South American nations.
Finally, let me declare that regardless of the outcome of the Hulu Selangor by-election result today, DAP and Pakatan Rakyat MPs will hold Najib to account in and out of Parliament for the RM3 million allocation for rebuilding the Rasa Chinese primary school.
Najib may claim that his RM3 million approval to Rasa Chinese primary school is contingent and conditional on BN winning the Hulu Selangor by-election. This is a shameful and dishonourable stand which no self-respecting and ethical Prime Minister will adopt.
I demand that Najib should sign the RM3 million cheque for Rasa Chinese Primary School tomorrow itself even if BN loses in Hulu Selangor by-election as he has the moral and political responsibility to immediately honour the RM3 million approval if he is not going to be shamed in Parliament and wherever he goes in Malaysia as a “cheap-skate” Prime Minister.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor