Three weeks after anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) launched its election integrity pledge, only four MPs – two from BN and two from the opposition – have signed the pact.
The four out of 222 MPs are Saifuddin Abdullah (BN-Temerloh), Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau), Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Lembah Pantai) and Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj (PSM-Sungai Siput).
Saifuddin (left), who is deputy higher education minister, was the first to commit himself to the pledge, while Nurul Izzah, a PKR vice-president, was the most recent MP to do so, on April 2.
The pledge , launched last month, is a non-binding ‘social contract’ for candidates in the coming general election.
It requires signatories who are election candidates to reject bribe-taking and money politics during their electoral campaign and after they have been voted into office.
Although the contract will not be enforced by any authority, the signatories must open a social media account – either with Facebook or Twitter – to allow direct communication with voters who will monitor and give their feedback on the conduct of the candidates.
TI-M has set up a website, timalaysia-electionpledge.org.my , publishing the details of all the signatories, including a document called the ‘candidate form’, where the MPs state their personal reasons for signing the pledge.
“I believe and support initiatives which promote free and fair election, good governance and high standard of integrity,” Khairy (right), who is also Umno Youth chief, states in his form.
His colleague and basketball mate, Saifuddin, referred to his book in his explanation on why he inked the pledge.
“I believe integrity is the defining pillar of a politician’s character. I’ve been promoting this in my speeches and writings. Political integrity is one of the two components that formed my 2008 book ‘New Politics’.
“This pledge is timely in the context of our political transformation,” Saifuddin says.
Need to separate politics from business
On the other hand, Jeyakumar (left), a medical specialist who defeated the MIC’s S Samy Vellu in the 2008 general election, says:
“It is very timely. We need to separate politics from business and do this urgently if we want to make ours a caring society”.
However, PKR’s Nurul Izzah took the opportunity to register her disapproval with the Election Commission.
“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of a successful and working democracy; subject to an independent, credible Election Commission which enjoys the confidence of Malaysians.
“I have reason to doubt the EC’s credibility,” says the political novice who defeated Umno Wanita giant Shahrizat Abdul Jalil in her maiden foray in electoral politics four years ago.
Nurul’s (right) signing was witnessed by Batu Gajah MP Fong Po Kuan, but interestingly the DAP parliamentarian has yet to ink the pledge.