The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) is shocked by the suggestion made by PPBM (Bersatu)’s Vice-President Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman that the party should use its position as the government of the day to channel resources and projects to division chiefs so that they can win elections “by hook or by crook”. He said this as part of his speech at the Bersatu’s Annual General Meeting yesterday and he received a cheering standing ovation from the delegates present. It makes one wonder if the Pakatan Harapan government in general, and Bersatu specifically, is committed to electoral and institutional reform.

Has Tan Sri Rashid and the cheering delegates forgotten so quickly why Malaysians rejected the previous UMNO/Barisan Nasional government just seven months ago? The abuse of power by the ruling elites through the channelling of government resources, corruption and political patronage was such a revolting stench that united Malaysians to say “enough is enough” on May 9th, 2018.

To be the government is not a reward, but a responsibility entrusted to politicians by the people. Serve diligently, effectively and honestly and the people will renew the contract every five years. Abuse your power to enrich yourselves and those you favour, the people will take that power from you and the law will be brought to bear on you.

Bersih 2.0 applaud the youth wing of Bersatu who had immediately rejected the suggestion made by Tan Sri Rashid. The fact that these future leaders of the party understands that such culture of corruption must be eradicated is most encouraging. 

Bersih 2.0 urge the Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad, who is also the Chairman of Bersatu, to deal with the root of corruption in the political establishment by hastening the implementation of these reforms.

a)            Enact an Administrative Neutrality Act to deal cronyism patronage, the abuse of government resources and public power for partisan purposes. Those who commit the crime should face criminal prosecution while those who fail to justify their acts may be subject to administrative penalties such as termination of service, demotion or transfer. The PM has to stop this culture and mentality of turning government into party’s feast lest PH becomes the very image of the old government it deposed.

b)            Enact the Political Financing Control Act to introduce transparency in political financing and establish rules on access to political funding, limits on contributions, expenditures, disclosures. The Bill should act as a measure against the appropriation and misuse of funds belonging to the government by political parties, as in the 1MDB scandal. This is Promise 18 in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto and it should be introduced without delay.

c)            Enhance the status, autonomy and power of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) through constitutional and legal amendments. As stated in Promise 14 of the PH manifesto, the MACC should be answerable to Parliament and its commissioners vetted and validated by Parliament.

d)            Empower the Election Commission with prosecutorial power to ensure that political parties, candidates and their agents comply with the election laws and that there will be a level playing field for all competing parties and that the incumbent government will not use government machineries and resources to win elections.

Without these reforms, the battle against political corruption is a losing battle and it would be a matter of time that we will have more scandals where we see our Government-Linked Companies (GLC) used to enrich politicians and those connected to them; and see more national institutions like Felda, Tabung Haji, 1MDB and EPF plundered.

Statement issued by:

The Steering Committee of Bersih 2.0

(featured photo credit: Malaysiakini)