TV3 and other TV station should cancel live coverage of Najib's presentation of BN Manifesto tonight

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will unveil the Barisan Nasional (BN) election manifesto in a speech at 8.30 pm tonight, which is to be broadcast live by TV3 and other TV stations.

This is a gross abuse of power and the latest in the long list of violations of the Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M)'s Election Integrity Pledge to conduct free, fair and clean elections which Najib signed with such fanfare some 45 days ago.

If the Barisan Nasional election manifesto is to be given live coverage over TV3 and other TV stations, similar facilities should also be extended to the Pakatan Rakyat's election manifesto.

TV3 and other TV stations should cancel the live coverage of Najib's presentation of BN Manifesto tonight unless they are prepared to offer similar facilities to the Pakatan Rakyat election manifesto.

Otherwise, this is the latest vindication as to why substantial sections of the Malaysian population have grave doubts that the general elections will provide a level playing field for competing political parties and candidates to compete for voter support in the 13GE and which is the cause for the mammoth Bersih 2.0 and Bersih 3.0 rallies in support of free, fair and clean elections.

It is becoming evident that caretaker Prime Minister Najib is not prepared to abide by the conventions of a caretaker government after the dissolution of Parliament which prohibits the making of major policy decisions or entering into major contracts which tie the hands of the new government being elected.

Najib's announcement yesterday of three major projects in Cyberjaya totalling about RM8 billion - RM6 billion Cyberjaya city centre, a RM600 million environmental-friendly mosque and a RM1.02 billion mixed development project - during his tenure as caretaker Prime Minister must therefore be deplored in the strongest possible terms, as it is most unethical and a gross violation of the TI-M Election Integrity Pledge.

Under Bersih’s guidelines for a caretaker government, the caretaker Prime Minister is barred from activities like “lay foundation stones etc., of projects or schemes of any kind; or make any new promises of construction of infrastructure or the carrying out of public projects”.

The guidelines are adopted from the Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom, the Australian Capital Territory, the Election Commission of India, and the Inter Parliamentary Union, the last which Malaysia is a member of.

Najib should explain whether he is bound by caretaker government conventions and principles or whether he is of the view that he is not constrained in any manner as caretaker Prime Minister despite the dissolution of Parliament from making major policy decisions or to enter into major contracts committing the next government of Malaysia.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur