Friday, December 9, 2011

DAP moots end to politics-business nexus

DAP moots end to politics-business nexus

December 09, 2011
Malaysian Insider

Lim questioned how BN was funding excessive election spending and why it was allowed to get away with doing so. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — DAP proposed today open tenders for government procurements and a ban on political parties’ involvement in business, as a way to address the country’s graft problem.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said political parties should be barred from businesses to avoid conflicts of interest.

“How can politics mix with business as the former seeks to uphold public interests whereas the latter is to pursue private benefit and profit?

“How wealthy political parties that are involved in business have become, can be seen by MCA giving money to its members every year,” he said in a statement.

Lim also proposed a universal adoption of open tenders to “check crony capitalism”.

“An open tender system ensures that unjust contracts such as [those involving] the independent power producers and the toll concession operators do not benefit the few with tens of billions of ringgit in extraordinary profits at the expense of the 27 million ordinary citizens.

“The shocking losses in the RM5 billion Perwaja scandal, Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal and the RM52 billion [in Bumiputera-held] shares all add up to more than US$ 100 billion estimated to be lost by Malaysians from corrupt or financial malpractices,” he said.

The Penang chief minister also said access to non-confidential information should be protected under a freedom of information law to ensure transparency, before adding that public officials should declare their personal assets.

The Bagan MP also said the Elections Commission (EC) must be punished for failing to pursue allegations of election bribery, and non-compliance with the Election Offences Act 1954, which imposes campaign spending limits of RM200,000 for every parliamentary constituency and RM100,000 for every state seat.

Alluding to the co-mingling of business and political funds, Lim pointed out the exorbitant sums expended by the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition during past elections.

“So blatant is this election spending limits rule violated that the Election Commission had admitted that RM 110 million was spent on election posters alone in the 2004 general election.

“With 219 parliamentary seats and 445 state seats contested in the 2004 general elections, the election spending limits is a maximum of RM 88.3 million.

“Clearly only BN can afford to spend RM110 million on election posters in the 2004 general election. And yet despite this astonishing self-revelation and admission by BN, no action was taken by the EC,” he said.

Lim’s proposals follow Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M)’s call for the government to adopt measures outlined in the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) to clamp down on graft.

TI-M had said it was disappointed Putrajaya has shown little political will to carry out the initiatives and measures outlined in the convention, which Malaysia ratified in 2008.

Malaysia’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) dropped for the third year running — slipping to 4.3 this year — leaving it in 60th place out of 183 countries, compared with 37th when Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over as prime minister in 2003.

Malaysia’s country ranking fell to 60 out of 183 countries from 56 out of 178 last year, despite the Najib administration’s pledge to roll back corruption.

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