Corruption-Free Elections for Sarawak 2011
2011.04.13 Civil Society Joint StatementAs Sarawak goes to poll on April 16, we the undersigned civil society organisations call upon all political parties, candidates, businesses, interest groups, the police, other government agencies, and the Election Commission to ensure that the coming elections will be free from all forms of corrupt practices. Vote-buying is election rigging
The elections are about choosing the best, most able and most trustworthy politicians to lead and serve the people of Sarawak. Leadership is positions of trust and monumental responsibility and are not meant to enhance the political power of the wealthy, the wealth of the politicians or the social status of both.
Elections become meaningless if votes are exchanged for notes, contestation for public offices is reduced to a match of private gains, and popular mandate becomes the prize of bribery bid. All types of goodies, freebies and handouts shrouded as electoral promises are enticements for votes and a subtle yet unequivocal form of vote buying.
In fact, if vote buying is systematically carried out by the incumbent parties or quietly permitted by the electoral authorities, then elections are virtually rigged. A government installed by bribery has no legitimacy and is not fit to rule. It is only a matter of time for corruptions to lead to political instability.
Bribery is a plague of greed
A bribe is not a sincere gift for which the recipient should feel a gratitude to the giver. Bribes in elections are a down payment for crime, for which the recipient agrees to help the giver to steal from or even rob the community. It is a simply plague of greed that poisons and destroys community.
The politician who bribes is one who tries to buy public office through illegitimate ways. For every ringgit s/he bribes during the electoral campaign s/he hopes to recoup much more whilst in public office to satisfy his greed and enrich her/his family and cronies at the expense of the rakyat.
The bribe taker is the corrupt politician’s accomplice in impoverishing the community. By accepting a meagre sum of money or handout, s/he is helping the corrupt politician to steal from the rakyat which includes her/himself for the next five years.
Bribery, like theft and robbery, is condemned and prohibited in every spiritual tradition and civilization. Not only buying vote is condemned, accepting an offer to buy vote is also condemned.
Towards clean and fair elections
Bribery is not only morally wrong, but also legally a serious criminal offence.
If anyone is giving or taking cash, gifts or any material offers with the intention to change a voter’s electoral choice, the person is guilty of “bribery” under Section 10 of the Election Offences Act 1954. Similarly, any persons who offer foods and drinks with an intention to change a voter’s choice are guilty of another criminal offence, “treating”, under Section 8 of the same act.
Both offences can bring about the maximum penalty of two years of imprisonment and RM 5,000 in fine. The Act does not exempt any ministers and government officials.
We must arrest the “quid pro quo” culture, which is nothing but shameless promotion of personal greed at the expense of public interest.
We urge all parties, candidates, interest groups and government agencies to refrain from giving any gift or making any promise with a criminal intention to influence the decision of voters in the elections.
Voters also should remember, for any gifts they take, they must not reciprocate by changing their voting choice or they will be guilty of accepting bribery.
In fact, all good citizens should lodge police report of any bribery or treating attempts they encounter. This will help the Election Commission and the Police to carry out their duty in ensuring corruption-free elections.
At the end, the society must draw a line to stop the plague of greed from sweeping away our spiritual and moral values.
1. Bhg Pemuda Persatuan Alumni Sekolah Serdang Bharu 沙登新村学校校友会青年团
2. Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
3. Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI)
4. Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (BERSIH 2.0)
5. Council of Churches of Malaysia Youth
6. Gabungan Anak Muda dan Pelajar,GAMP青年与学生联盟
7. Gabungan Murid-Murid Sekolah-Sekolah Menengah Persendirian Perak 霹雳独中校友联盟
8. Gerakan Mahasiswa Maju UPM 博大前进阵线
9. Ipoh Mini Oasis Library 怡保小绿洲社会图书馆
10. Kong Min School Old Pupils Association 槟城公民学校同学会
11. LLG Cultural Development Centre 林连玉基金
12. Malaysia Youth & Students Democratic Movement (DEMA) 马来西亚青年与学生民主运动（学运）
13. Malaysians for Beng Hock 全民挺明福
14. Monsoons group 季候风组织
15. Muslim Professional Forum
16. Oriental Hearts & Mind Study Institute (OHMSI)
17. Penang Chinese Independent Schools’ Education Society 槟城独中教育基金会
18. Perak Young Graduate Association 霹雳大专青年社
19. Persatuan Alumni Han Chiang Pulau Pinang 槟城韩江同学会
20. Persatuan Bekas Murid-Murid Han Chiang Seberang Perai威省韩江校友会
21. Persatuan Kawan Karib Pulau Pinang槟城老友联谊会
22. Persatuan Murid-Murid Tua Sekolah Menengah Shen Jai 霹雳深斋校友会
23. Persatuan Prihantin Komuniti Kuala Lumpur & Selangor (PRIHATIN) 雪隆社区关怀协会
24. Persekutuan Alumni Han Chiang Malaysia 马来西亚韩江校友会总会
25. Pusat Komas
26. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia
27. Sembang-sembang Forum 大炮论坛
28. Student Progressive Front New Era College 新纪元前进阵线
29. Student Progressive Front USM 理大前进阵线
30. Student Progressive Front UUM北大前进阵线
31. UMANY ALUMNI马大新青年毕业生协会
32. Writer Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI) 维护媒体独立撰稿人联盟
33. Youth Section of KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall 隆雪中华大会堂青年团
34. Youth Section of Malacca Chinese Assembly Hall 马六甲中华大会堂青年团
35. Youth Section of Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall 森美兰中华大会堂青年团
36. National Institute for Democracy and Electoral Integrity (NIEI)
37. Friends in Conversation
38. The Micah Mandate
39. National Institute for Democracy and Electoral Integrity 雪隆理华同学会
40. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower)
41. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
43. Women’s Aid Organisation