Caretaker govt: Lim wants EC meeting

Chua Sue-Ann | Jan 7, 08

Veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang pressing for a caretaker government to be set up when Parliament is dissolved and a general election is called.

The proposal having been ignored to date, he is seeking a meeting with Election Commission (EC) head Abdul Rahman Abdul Rashid on the matter.
Explaining that the proposal is to ensure clean and fair elections, he wants a meeting with the Abdul Rahman to discuss this and other electoral issues.
Lim described the caretaker body as “an interim government with minimal functions”.
A caretaker government’s function is limited to ensuring the basic administration of the state and maintaining law and order.
“(With) a caretaker government (in place), cabinet ministers should not abuse government positions, machinery, resources and funds for any electioneering purposes for a political party or candidate,” he said in a statement.
The caretaker government should not initiate new projects, sign major agreements or implement unlegislated policies which may bind the incoming government. The temporary administrators should not make significant appointments to public offices during its tenure.
The first step is to urge the EC to accept the concept of a caretaker government, said Lim when asked to comment on implementation of the proposal.
Article 43(2) of the Federal Constitution recognises the possibility of an interim government being created when Parliament is dissolved, but makes no specific mention of the composition or powers.
A caretaker government was put in place during the pre-independence era of the late 1940s as the British government drafted the Federation of Malaya Agreement with Malayan leaders.
Under the constitution, a general election must be held within 60 days of the dissolution of Parliament. The new Parliament shall convene no later than 120 days from the date of dissolution.
‘Stop dishonest practices’
Lim also called for disqualification of candidates who benefit from dishonest campaigning practices through abusing their government position or misusing public funds.
Two of the three by-elections conducted last year saw unprecedented sums being pledged to the state constituencies by way of development projects.
During the Ijok by-election last April, Selangor Mentri Besar Mohd Khir Toyo announced RM36 million for various development projects for the region even before nominations were filed.
Lim estimated that almost RM100 million was spent by the Barisan Nasional in that hotly-contested constituency in Selangor.
Prior to that, the Machap by-election led to infrastructure upgrades and various development plans totaling an estimated RM6 million within two weeks.