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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nazri tells TI-M to shut up, butt out

Nazri said the issue of running elections was not TI-M’s concern. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has said Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) should “shut up” and “mind its own business” after the anti-graft watchdog said yesterday that any type of election handouts to voters is a form of corruption.

TI-M also criticised the Election Commission (EC) for failing to ensure free and fair elections in the country.

Nazri pointed out that a 1981 court case had ruled that it was not an offence but in line with the responsibility of the government to ensure development and allocate funds regardless of whether there was an election.

“This country has got a court system and our court has decided long time ago that it is not corruption. I just don’t give a damn about what they say on this. I only refer to the highest court decision which said that it is endowed fund and not bribery,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Nazri was referring to the legal precedent established in the case involving the Pengkalan Kota by-election between Teoh Teik Huat and Lim Kean Siew.

The case revolved around a statement by then-finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who had said he would personally give more money for the improvement of Pengkalan Kota if Barisan Nasional (BN) won.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department had also told Parliament that handouts and goodies in the form of financial assistance to voters during elections was not a form corruption because it was the federal government’s way of “fulfilling its promises” and manifestos.

Nazri yesterday expressed surprise over allegations the EC had failed to show that they were “independent” in carrying out its duties even though they were guaranteed autonomy under the federal constitution.

“How do you get [an] independent EC? Where do the commissioners come from? From the heavens? Our system is that all of our commissioners are appointed by the (Yang di-Pertuan) Agong on the advice of the prime minister.

“Unless Transparency International can have a system whereby the people can come down from heaven to become commissioner then I will accept. Otherwise just keep your mouth shut and mind you own business,” he added.

According to him, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) would not likely have captured a total of five states and denied BN its stranglehold on Parliament in Election 2008 if the accusations hurled against the EC were true.

“How did the opposition win four [more] states? How did they win 82 seats during 2008? You mean to say that all those 82 seats they won fairly but the seats that BN won were unfair. Is that what they mean? Tell them to mind their own business,” he said.

PR lawmakers have consistently accused the EC of failing to be neutral during by-elections, resulting in numerous complaints to the commission.

The EC has, however, maintained that it is impartial and independent, denying allegations of bias towards BN. - Malaysian Insider

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