Najib says ‘no’ to money politics with integrity pledge

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has joined politicians from both sides of the divide in signing the Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) Election Integrity Pledge, launched on March 17 last year.

The prime minister joins 20 others, including Deputy Minister of Higher Education Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, who have declared their commitment to reject any form of bribery or money politics and maintain integrity in the upcoming general election.

Signatories to the pledge “irrevocably declare” that they will observe several principles during the electoral process which include not accepting bribes or getting  involved in corrupt practices (such as money politics), upholding the interest of the rakyat, practising good governance and transparency, and complying with the country’s laws and regulations.

Najib wrote in the pledge that he became a signatory because as a Barisan Nasional (BN) leader he has to set a strong tone.

“Only a candidate who is deemed to have fought a clean and fair election will lead to a trustworthy government respected by the people,” he wrote.

Among those who witnessed the signing at Najib’s office were BN component party leaders, including MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, MIC president Datuk Seri G Palanivel, Upko president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, PBB president Tan Sri Taib  Mahmud, Umno deputy president and deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and former Gerakan chief Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.

TI-M president Datuk Paul Low said Malaysia is the first country within the TI community to implement such an initiative.

Low said those who sign the pledge do so of their own accord and not as a party member or minister.

“By making a declaration the people can make a distinction. The people will also monitor the signatories, who will be encouraged to set up Facebook or Twitter accounts so the people can question them,” he said.

Low said TI-M will also monitor the signatories if it finds that politicians leave many questions unanswered in the upcoming polls.

Low is hopeful that more politicians will come forward and sign the pledge, which can also be done online.

About a month after its launch last year, out of the 222 representatives in the Dewan Rakyat, only four MPs — two from BN and two from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) — had signed the pact.

The four were Saifuddin (BN-Temerloh), Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau),Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Lembah Pantai) and Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj (PSM-Sungai Siput).

Many MPs declined to sign the pledge, saying it could be a sensitive issue, showing that they were being presumptuous over their candidacy for the next election.

However, Low was reported as saying that “actually it is more a political pledge than a candidate’s pledge”.

For more information on the pledge, check out the website: timalaysia-electionpledge.org.my

For more stories, go to www.fz.com, the website for freedom of expression and fairness in articulation.

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