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Zahid Hamidi should be immediately suspended as Deputy Information Minister for blatant violation of the National Integrity Plan when he destroyed the important distinctions of government, political party and personal interests by declaring that the Information Ministry will counter all issues, whether national, state, local or personal, raised by the Opposition in the Machap by-election?

Media Statement       
by Lim Kit Siang  


(Petaling Jaya, Sunday) : My first reaction to the Bernama report yesterday, “Info Ministry To Counter All Issues Raised In Machap Polls”, quoting the Deputy Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that the Information Ministry will counter all issues, including personal matters of national, state and local leaders, raised by the Opposition in the run-up to the Machap by-election was whether it was an April Fool’s joke.

Zahid said it was the ministry's responsibility to explain the truth to the voters on issues highlighted so that they would not be swayed by the baseless allegations.

"Personal issues and allegations on certain leaders are disheartening. I advise Machap voters not to be taken in by DAP speakers harping on personal and private matters," Zahid  told reporters after chairing a meeting on the by-election here.

I had wondered whether Zahid was playing an April Fool’s joke on the voters of Machap and the people of Malaysia because no minister or deputy minister had ever been so blatant in 50 years of Malaysian independence in declaring or admitting about the misuse of government machinery, resources and funds in a general election or by-election to support the candidates of the ruling coalition. 

For the first time, a deputy information minister had openly confessed that the Information Ministry is part of the election or by-election  machinery of the Barisan Nasional, with the entire resources of the Information Ministry commandeered in the campaign of misinformation and disinformation against the Opposition candidate. 

This is most shocking, for it marks another low point in the deterioration of public integrity and morality of the Abdullah premiership – where the distinctions between  government,  political party and personal interests are completely blurred and destroyed, which is the root cause of the galloping corruption and power abuses in the country.

I challenge the Election Commission Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman to declare whether he is prepared to condemn such a gross abuse of power and serious electoral malpractice which has continued to tarnish the Malaysian electoral system preventing it from being a free, fair and honest process for voters to meaningfully choose their elected representative, whether State or Parliament. 

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should repudiate the statement  by Zahid that the Information Ministry will be partisanly involved in the Machap by-election to secure votes for the Barisan Nasional candidate as Parliament had never approved any budget for the Information Ministry to be spent to campaign for Barisan Nasional candidates, whether in a general election or by-election. 

Zahid has in fact publicly gone against Abdullah’s pledge to promote integrity in governance and the National Integrity Plan – for which Zahid should be immediately suspended as Deputy Information Minister to demonstrate Abdullah’s serious commitment about the National Integrity Plan.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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