The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (BERSIH) is alarmed that certain parties and individuals are suggesting that Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the President of UMNO should be considered for the post of Deputy Prime Minister in PM Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Cabinet.
BERSIH strongly objects to the appointment of any person who has an ongoing criminal case against him/her to any Cabinet position as they would raise doubts about the integrity of Anwar’s government and tarnish the reputation of our country.
Zahid is still on trial for numerous corruption charges involving the Yayasan Akalbudi case even though he had been acquitted on the VLN visa scheme case by the High Court on 22 September 2022 but the prosecution has filed an appeal for this case.
Similarly, other elected representatives who have ongoing corruption cases such as Lim Guan Eng, Syed Saddiq and Bung Mokhtar, should not be appointed to the Malaysian Cabinet until after their cases have been fully disposed off by the courts without any interference from the Executive through the Attorney-General Chambers.
BERSIH opined that until and unless both the prosecution and the judiciary are absolutely free from political influence, politicians with outstanding court cases taking up executive positions are politically unacceptable as any acquittals will be seen as the granting of impunity to those aligned with the Executive, even if their cases genuinely merited acquittal. This would undermine the integrity of both the AGC and the judiciary.
BERSIH urges all parties in this mixed coalition government to refrain from putting forth any names of individuals with ongoing court cases to the PM for consideration as he forms his Cabinet.
BERSIH reiterates the urgent need to reform the AGC by separating its powers to prosecute. As an immediate measure, the prosecution role should be temporarily transferred to the Solicitor-General, the apolitical No 2 in the AGC, to take a neutral position on all ongoing cases, especially those involving politicians. The handling of these cases should not be used as bargaining chips for the formation of government or the Cabinet.
Statement issued by:
The Steering Committee of BERSIH