Hornbill Unleashed

April 21, 2016

C4 to Adenan: End monetisation of politics this election

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Even before the start of the official election campaign in Sarawak, Chief Minister Adenan Satem is already on a crusade to win the elections through undemocratic means by barring Malaysian politicians and activists from entering the State. And, as if that isn’t bad enough, the monetisation of politics is rearing its ugly head again.

The Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Centre) is deeply concerned by Adenan’s decision to include five Chinese merchants and timber tycoons in his candidate list.

The inclusion of timber tycoons in the election runs contrary to his stern warning a mere six months ago, when he promised to clean up the highly controversial Sarawakian timber industry and warned corporate elites “not to mess with him”, clearly referring to the repercussions of corruption.

Now, the move to include timber tycoons in politics, especially in a state where deforestation is a pressing problem, creates a wide opportunity for further abuse and corruption.

Sarawak has always been a state of closed-door policies, amidst numerous counts of corruption, human rights abuse and unjust land grabs, executed by corporate tycoons, and supervised by the political executives.

Tiong Thai King, the executive director of Rimbunan Hijau Group, was a parliamentarian for four terms, and he is now in Team Adenan.

The late Robert Lau, of the KTS group, was the ex-deputy transport minister. His widow, Janet Lau, is now in Adenan’s candidate list.

The appointment of these corporate elites further advances conflict-of-interest policies on both political and corporate fronts, raising questions of integrity and impartiality.

Additionally, when a chief minister makes contradictory statements and conflicting decisions, his own integrity and credibility become questionable, simultaneously diminishing the viability of his own candidacy along with public confidence.

This backtracking has severely damaged the chief minister’s satnd and credibility as a reformer who pledged to crack down on illegal activities, and bring a new age of integrity and clean governance to the state.

Looking back in history, the current prime minister also started off portraying himself as a reformist.

But as time went on, he shed his mask and proved to be increasingly autocratic as he consolidated power.

Will Chief Minister Adenan, who now makes a conscious decision to infringe upon corporate and political integrity, go down the same path?

The C4 Centre has always maintained that business and politics should always be separated, and we continue to uphold this stand as we approach the upcoming Sarawak election.

We, therefore, strongly urge the chief minister to stand firm on his previous stance to solidify good governance, and retract his support for these corporate candidates.

It is no longer tenable or desirable for politics in Malaysia to be dictated by money!


Cynthia Gabriel is the executive and founding director of Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Centre).


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