Grave doubts over BN Integrity Pledge

Sepanggar — Lim Kit Siang poses with youths during his ceramah in Sepanggar, Sabah, January 2013.

SEGAMAT, 25 February — DAP Parliamentary Leader, Lim Kit Siang reasserted his stand on signing the Transparency International (TI) Malaysia Election Integrity Pledge, saying that while signing the pledge would not be problem for him, he wants it to be “a meaningful and not a meaningless exercise”.

Lim said so in responding in a statement made by Prime Minister Najib Razak in Kuching, asking Pakatan Rakyat leaders to sign the integrity pledge “if they are committed in fighting corruption and abuses of power”.

Najib, also Barisan Nasional (BN) Chairman, earlier signed the integrity pledge on 20 February — a gesture DAP National Deputy Chairman, Tan Kok Wai decribed as a “smokescreen” to divert from the actual issues of corruption.

Hollow promises an insult

Lim, finding Najib’s statement as “the greatest insult and dishonouring” to those standing for honesty and integrity for so long, further lamented whether the country has reached a point where “the sins of corruption could just be absolved with a signature”.

According to Lim, also the Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timur, it is during the last four years of Najib’s prime ministerial tenure that Malaysia had plunged to “the worst of rankings” in the annual TI Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

Lim pointed out that “grave doubts” have risen about the meaningfulness of the Najib’s signing of the integrity pledge, claiming that Najib and party have not been serious in their efforts of combating corruption and power abuse.

“Can Najib’s signing of the TI Election Integrity Pledge absolve him of all the failures to check corruption and abuses of power in the past four years or his own involvements in corrupt deals and abuses of power?” he asked.

Lim also claimed that Najib has violated the integrity pledge at least five times during the Chinese New Year celebrations, citing the lavish expenses on having South Korean superstar Psy to perform in Penang as one of them.

If Suharto or Marcos signed a pledge, would it matter?

Lim took Najib and BN’s case to comparison with former presidents of Indonesia, Suharto and the Philippines’ Ferdinand Marcos’ massive practices of corruption, asking, “If Suharto or Marcos had signed an Election Integrity Pledge at the height of their power and office, would it enhance or discredit such a pledge?”

Lim took an extra effort by making a proposal to Najib and Barisan Nasional to attach a 10-point Addendum to the TI Election Integrity Pledge, but to no response.

Pointing out the proposal at a ceramah in Kuching, Lim said the addendum is to ensure a pledge signing that ushers into a “new era of integrity and good governance rather than being involved in a pure publicity stunt”.

Najib should declare assets for integrity

Meanwhile the DAP Secretary-General, Lim Guan Eng said Najib’s endorsement of the integrity pledge would only be meaningful if the prime minister and other Barisan Nasional leaders make a step ahead in making a full and complete declaration of their assets.

The Penang Chief Minister later cited the example of the state Pakatan Rakyat-led government’s exercise of declaring the assets of its Chief Minister and state executive councillors to the public, suggesting that Najib and BN must follow Penang’s lead if they want to proof their integrity.

“If they cannot even perform this simple exercise then there is no point to sign an Integrity Pledge,” said Lim. — The Rocket

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