Bersih 2.0: 10 institutional reforms to stop more prime ministerial corruption

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Photograph: Malaysiakini

Bersih 2.0 warns any new prime minister produced by intra-Umno and inter-party horse-trading dominated by Dr Mahathir may soon create his own 1MDB or PKFZ.

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (Bersih 2.0) calls upon Malaysians to firmly demand 10 institutional reforms for good governance and democracy to put a stop to prime ministerial corruption, as Najib Razak’s prime ministership is increasingly untenable with the latest expose of the transfer of RM2.6bn into his personal banking account.

For now, Bersih 2.0 demands these immediate actions:

  • Najib Razak to make public his bank account details, in particular, clarify if the AmBank accounts existed in his name and, if so, show the transaction details for the dates in question.
  • Najib Razak to take leave as the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and all other public offices he holds pending investigation
  • Najib Razak’s, his spouse’s and his children’s accounts to be frozen
  • All findings of investigation by Bank Negara, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the police, and Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee on 1MDB and related companies to be made public in the fastest time possible.

Bersih 2.0 reminds Malaysians that Najib Razak is not the first prime minister to be implicated in corruption, abuse or mismanagement of public funds. Unless institutional reforms take place, he will not be the last.

Bersih 2.0 reminds Malaysians that when prime ministers get off scot-free for squandering billions, there is no way Malaysians can stop ministers and senior civil servants from also squandering millions, as revealed in the Auditor-General’s Report every year. Such “leadership by example” of the worst form must be put to an end.

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Bersih 2.0 says 10 institutional reforms for good governance and democracy are needed to root out the three main causes of prime ministerial corruption:

  • the near-impossibility of losing elections;
  • power concentration and unaccountability of the executive; and
  • the suppression of political dissent.

Bersih 2.0 proposes 10 long-term institutional reforms to address the three root-causes of prime ministerial corruption:

To make electoral defeats of corrupt politicians more probable

1. Make the Election Commission accountable to the Parliament, with Election Commission members nominated by parliamentary parties based on vote share.

2. Clean up the electoral rolls, ensure a level-playing field in contestation, and eliminate malapportionment and gerrymandering before the next general elections.

To break the concentration of power and unaccountability of the Executive

3. Stop Mahathir’s legacy of the Prime Minister simultaneously holding the portfolio of Minister of Finance.

4. Introduce parliamentary reforms to enable more effective scrutiny of the Executive and more consultative law making, in line with the recommendations by Bersih 2.0 and the Coalition for Parliamentary Reform.

5. Make the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) a constitutional body answerable to Parliament and imbue the MACC with both investigative and prosecutorial powers.

6. Restrict the role of the attorney general to providng legal advice to the federal government, with the prosecutory power transferred to an independent office of Director of Public Prosecutions.

7. Establish freedom of information laws at the federal and state levels.

8. Make the public declaration of assets – including those of spouses — mandatory for all members of the Cabinet, all deputy ministers and all officers holding top offices in government and government-linked companies.

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To protect political dissent

9. Abolish draconian laws, such as the Sedition Act 1948, the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015, the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, and amend the provisions of the Penal Code which violate freedoms and rights.

10. Establish an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to depoliticise the Royal Malaysia Police and turn it from a violator of human rights into a protector of human rights.

Bersih 2.0 reminds Malaysians that, now in the forefront of demanding Najib’s exit, former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had allegedly squandered an estimated RM100bn in financial scandals during his 22-year rule.

The allegation made by former journalist Barry Wain in his book Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times was neither challenged in court nor even effectively refuted.

One of Mahathir’s latest financial scandals, the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) land deal, could cost Malaysians RM12bn, about a quarter of the amount in Najib’s own 1MDB scandal, RM42bn.

Bersih 2.0 warns any new prime minister produced by intra-Umno and inter-party horse-trading dominated by Dr Mahathir may soon create his own 1MDB or PKFZ.

Bersih 2.0 laments that corruption, right from the prime minister to senior government servants, has taken a toll on our economy by eating up funds for education, health care and public works; cutting subsidies vital to support the bottom 40 per cent of households, while the imposition of the goods and services tax (GST) has caused both inflation and economic slowdown.

Corruption must end now.

READ MORE:  The People v Najib Razak Ep 93: GUILTY

Maria Chin Abdullah,
Chairwoman, Bersih 2.0

The Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee comprises:

Timbalan Pengerusi: Sarajun Hoda Abdul Hassan; Bendahari: Masjaliza Hamzah; wakil kebangsaan: Prof Madya Dr Abdul Halim bin Yusof, Farhana binti Abdul Halim, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri dan New Sin Yew; naib pengerusi: Jannie Lasimbang (Sabah), Ahmad b. Awang Ali (Sarawak), Abd Halim b. Wan Ismail (Semenanjung Timur), Thomas Fann (Semenanjung Selatan), Simon Lee Ying Wai (Semenanjung Tengah) dan Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon (Semenanjung Utara).

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Abdul Rashid Hanafi
7 Jul 2015 7.18am

Leadership is more about what you “do” than what you “say”. Leadership is performance and not position. Leadership is not definitely by asking “Who has the most power?” As a society, we need to make a distinction between who is really a leader and who is just in the position of leadership. We have come to realize that we have a PM and many other elected representatives in parliment and state assemblies and many of them hold important positions in the government but what have they done? What problems have they solved? What vision have they communicated? In prior decades, with limited access to information, administration based on the old military archtype pyramidal structure made sense especially when you are dealing with uneducated people – it’s very effective. Now, with the advent of computer technology, so many people have access to so much information that it levels out our leadership and flatten out many organizations and question long-held assumptions. And censorship is not effective anymore. The world is changing all around us and the old military command-and-control types of leadership of barking out orders and coercing,… Read more »