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Bringing Integrity to Elections

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Press Release- Transparency International-Malaysia


Bringing Integrity to Elections

PRESS STATEMENT, 5 April 2016 Kuala Lumpur – Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) believes that integrity, accountability and openness in politic are vital to a healthy democracy. Malaysia had the second largest decline in the ASEAN region after Philippines in the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), dropping 4 positions to a rank of 54. In fact, our position would have been even worse if certain countries (six of them) who scored better than Malaysia in the 2014’s CPI were taken into account. These 6 countries were not surveyed in 2015 CPI. In addition, based on the 2014 Malaysian Corruption Barometer (MCB) 2014 which surveyed the public’s experiences and views on corruption and their willingness to combat the issue, political parties were perceived as one of the most corrupt institutions in the country by 45% of these 2,032 respondents across Malaysia. It is worrying that the particularly high public perception of the level of corruption in Malaysia. However, in this same survey, 177 respondents in Sarawak were asked about the perceived corruption of political parties. Indeed, it was surprising that 53% of the respondents indicated low corruption among political parties.

In the last 13th General Election, TI-M launched the Election Integrity Pledge initiative, and our Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak(UMNO) Khairy Jamaluddin (UMNO), Nurul Izzah (PKR), Baru Bian (PKR), M. Kulasegaran (DAP), Michael Jayakumar Devaraj (PSM) and Jeffrey Kitingan (STAR) had signed the pledge. The pledge is used to encourage candidates to make a public declaration of their commitment towards “observing the principles of truth, integrity, accountability and ethical conduct” both during the elections and after being voted into the office. The main purpose of the pledge was to recognize that it is the responsibility of every candidate to fight corruption, practice good governance and uphold the rule of law in his/her campaigning and as an elected member of the legislature, should he/she be elected. The candidate recognises that it is his/her responsibility to live up to the levels of integrity and ethics hoped for and expected by the voting public.

As announced by the Chief Minister of Sarawak the state legislative assembly will be dissolved on 11th April with state elections to be held thereafter. TI-M welcomes and encourages all candidates intending to run for public office in the upcoming Sarawak State Election as well as current elected representatives to declare their commitment to a corruption free Malaysia by signing this Election Integrity Pledge.

TI-M believes that Integrity is the primary and most important prerequisite for such undertaking is political will that is able to drive the message of zero tolerance for graft. And we need the commitment of these election candidates to show their sincerity to curb, combat and curtail corruption as their pledge to make Sarawak a better state. TI-M urges voters to keep track and monitor candidates who sign the Election Integrity Pledge as their commitment to have zero tolerance for corruption, practice good governance and uphold the rule of law. This pledge is a public declaration that election candidates to ensure that public funds, resources and facilities are not used for campaigning and adhere to the Election Offences Act 1954 and regulations, including, but not limited to, Election Spending Limits and vote buying regulations.

We must all get on board in the fight against corruption and who is more important for this endeavour than the very persons to whom we entrust the government of this country – our elected representatives? We hope they will rise up to this challenge for the sake of our country.

Dato’ Akhbar Satar
Transparency International-Malaysia is an independent, non-governmental and non-partisan organisation committed to the fight against corruption.