In keeping with his pledge of a “clean and incorruptible” administration, Abdullah should convene a special Parliamentary  meeting before dissolution to pass the necessary law  to ensure that the next general election is the most “clean, free and fair” in the nation’s history

Speech (2)
DAP 37th anniversary  anniversary dinner
by Lim Kit Siang

(Batu GajahWednesday): Before attending the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit in Tokyo last Thursday,  the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi admitted to the Japanese media in an interview that Malaysia’s position on the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI)  was not good enough and must be improved.

He said: “We have to prove that we are incorruptible. That's the only way we can build our credibility, improve our image and become more attractive for investments and trade."

Abdullah is reaching the half-way mark of his “First Hundred Days” as the new Prime Minister, and it is time that he graduates from making promises to delivering promises about a clean and incorruptible administration.

So far, Abdullah has announced a regional anti-corruption academy,  a National Institute for Public Ethics to formulate and implement a National Integrity Plan and the revival of the civics  subject in school.

The first two announcements are mid-term in effect while the third is long-term. Malaysians, however,  cannot wait for more than a decade to see whether the revival of the civics subject in school  has contributed to a new national and political culture of zero-tolerance for corruption, as the people are entitled to see tangible progress in the fight against corruption.

The first major step Abdullah should take is to fulfil his pledge of a “clean and incorruptible administration” is to convene a special Parliamentary  meeting before dissolution to pass the necessary law  to ensure that the next general election is the most “clean, free and fair” in the nation’s history.

In its report on the 1999 general election, the  Malaysian Citizen's Election Watch (PEMANTAU) raised important questions about its  credibility and legitimacy, such as:

• A large number of the adult citizens eligible to vote were denied the right to vote.

• The administration of the postal vote was highly questionable.

• Opposition parties were not given reasonable opportunities to carry out their campaign.

• The local broadcasting and print media were one-sided and blatantly biased towards the ruling coalition.

• The secrecy and freedom to cast votes especially among the armed forces and police was highly questionable.

However well-intentioned, its history has shown that the Election Commission cannot be relied upon to ensure that the next general election is “free, fair and clean” and will not be  marred by blemishes  in past general elections, such as those pointed out by PEMANTAU with regard to the 1999 general election. 

Because of the heavy concentration of power – executive, legislative and even judicial – in the hands of the Prime Minister, which is against the doctrine of separation of powers between the three branches of government, only an initiative by the Prime Minister to convene a special Parliamentary meeting before dissolution to pass the necessary law  can ensure  the holding of the most “clean, free and fair” general election in the nation’s history.

The election law which the special Parliament should enact and come into force before dissolution is to  ensure that the next general election will be a model of a “clean, free and fair” poll not only for Malaysia but for the world -  completely free from all forms of irregularities and intimidation, including threats of May 13 or racial riots if votes are not given to a particular political party. 

Among the issues that should  be addressed  are: 

  • No abuse of power by the caretaker government between dissolution of Parliament and polling day, with strict and scrupulous observance of the principle that there should  no  government resources, facilities and personnel as well as public funds should  be expended in  any form of partisan election campaigning;
  • Ensuring that the two million eligible voters who have not yet registered as voters could do so within the next two months so that they can exercise their right to vote in the next general election, and at the  latest, within 10 days of the dissolution  of Parliament to enable them to vote on polling day;
  • The rectification of the electoral register to remove the two million phantom voters  - those who have no work or residential relationship in the constituency they are registered - on the roll to ensure the integrity of the electoral process;
  • Free and fair media coverage of all contesting political parties and candidates in the media, both electronic and  printed.
  • Strict observance of the election expenditure limits provided by law for every candidate, with political party election  expenditures in the constituency to be considered as part of the candidate’s election expenditures;
  • No use of threats during election campaign, as in threatening bloodshed, violence or another May 13 Incident; and
  • Monitoring of postal ballot voting process by contesting candidates and their election agents.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman