By S Rutra
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia urgently needs a code of ethics for MPs to prevent crossovers and money politics, according to veteran lawyer and political observer Param Cumaraswamy.
“In light of what we have seen since the 2008 general election, this is absolutely important,” he said in an interview with FMT.
He suggested the establishment of an institution to enforce the code.
“We need more than a parliamentary privilege committee because we need to check their conduct outside parliament as well,” he said. “Their conduct should be open to the rakyat’s scrutiny.”
Param was president of the Bar Council between 1986 and 1988 and is a prominent champion of good governance.
He described as “despicable” any MP who defects from the party that sponsored his candidacy and then exposes its secrets.
He believes that most members of the public would agree with him.
“People in general are very disturbed by what they have been seeing recently, when elected representatives not only crossed over but openly attacked his or her previous party and its leaders,” he said.
He said a code of ethics for MPs would go some way towards ensuring that only those with a high level of integrity would become elected representatives.
He also called on political parties to field only candidates of good calibre and to discipline corrupt MPs and never field them again for election.
“They are not fit to serve the rakyat and they should be prevented from ever being elected again.”
He said there should be an audit not only on the material wealth of MPs, but on their personal character as well.
He warned both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat that voter awareness had improved tremendously in recent years.
“It is absolutely important for political parties to be more careful of the kind of candidates they select,” he said. – FMT