BN leaders, under the guiding hands of our beloved Prime Minister, took a giant leap forward in practicising clean politics by signing the Transparency International Malaysia (TM-I) Election Integrity Pledge yesterday.
The Barisan Nasional chairman became the first Prime Minister to sign such a pledge, and the signing was witnessed by Deputy Chief (Operations) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Datuk Mohd Syukri Abdul and the president of the Malaysian chapter of Transparency International Datuk Paul Low.
Also present at the signing ceremony were Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and BN component parties leaders, including Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu president Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.
If the prime minister manages to persuade all BN candidates to sign the pledge, then Malaysia will be the first country in the world to do so. This is attainable, as the PM has made a commitment that once Barisan Nasional's election nominees are announced, he will ensure that all of BN's candidates will sign the pledge.
By signing the pledge, the leaders "irrevocably declared" that they would observe several principles during the electoral process -- to not accept bribes or get involved in corrupt practices; to uphold the interests of the rakyat; to practice good governance and transparency, and; to comply to the country's laws and regulations.
Transparency International is an international anti-corruption NGO that promotes transparency and accountability, and the PM’s signing of the pledge is a major leap forward for the ruling coalition in making public commitment for clean and fair elections.
"Nominees from BN and its component parties have gone through a review process with the MACC and thus, it is fitting that they now take their commitment for clean and fair elections a step further by signing this Election Integrity Pledge,” said the Prime Minister.
“The responsibility of fulfilling the pledge lies within the signatories and it is the prerogative of the public to hold them accountable to it. Let us work together towards strengthening the election process," the Prime Minister added.
Since the pledger’s details would be made available on TI’s website, it is the public’s responsibility to monitor the electedrepresentatives adherence to these standards.
Although a few of Pakatan Rakyat’s leaders had also signed the pledge, most of their election nominees are taking several steps back by criticising the pledge. Given Pakatan Rakyat’s reluctance to even have their candidates vetted by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), perhaps this isn’t so surprising after all. DAP’s Tony Pua has come out to say that the Transparency International pledge as “very empty.”
Pua’s scepticism was refuted by Datuk Paul Low. “You may say it is cosmetic but we explained to them that you are actually making a public declaration, and you are making a social contract with them, of his own conviction or commitment, that he will uphold principles of integrity and good governance."
Will Pakatan leaders walk the talk? Forget about them. What we are proud of right now is that the Prime Minister and the BN component parties are taking the plunge to pledge for a clean and fair election.
By Abu Bakar Ahmad.