The Bukit Begunan case in Sarawak, where Mr. Justice Ian H.C. Chin declared the election in the Sarawak State General Elections on Sept. 8 and 9 last year as null and void because of excessive money politics and causing a by-election to be held, should lead to a searching review of the election laws in the country as to how to give meaning to the call by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed at the UMNO General Assembly last October, where he was moved to tears warning about the ruination to the country if money politics are not curbed and eliminated.
In this light, it is most shocking that the Parti Bangsa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) is seriously considering proposing to the Sarawak National Front the renomination for the by-election in Bukit Begunan the former National Front candidate Mong Anak Dagang whose election as the Assemblyman for the area last September was declared null and void.
Although Mong had not been disqualified on the ground that there was no evidence to show that Mong had spent more than the statutory limit of RM$30,000 in the election, and could legally stand as a candidate, his renomination by both the PBDS and the Sarawak Barisan Nasional would make a complete mockery of the election laws as well as the tears shed by Mahathir last October for an end to money politics in Malaysia.
The Kuching judge Mr. Justice Ian Chin had found as a fact that there had been extensive bribery in the Bukit Begunan election campaign, and there has been a public estimate that the election expenditures in the Bukit Begunan constituency was 60 times the legal limit of RM30,000.
Can Mong convince and satisfy all Sarawakians and Malaysians that he had no knowledge and had not consented to the extensive bribery and excessive expenditures which were spent on his behalf to secure his election, so that his re-nomination as a candidate in the constituency would not make a mockery of the the concept of a ‘free,fair and clean’ election?
The Prime Minister should advise PBDS to respect the spirit of the judgment in the Bukit Begunan election petition and not to make a mockery of the election law and the whole electoral process by renominating Mong as a candidate in the Bukit Begunan by-election.
The time has also come for the Election Commission to take a more pro-active stance in discharging its constitutional duty to conduct free, fair and clean general elections by carrying out a comprehensive study of the problem of money politics in elections in Malaysia and the rampant violation of the law limiting election expenditures to RM30,000 for every State Assembly candidate and RM50,000 for every Parliamentary candidate and to recommend urgent remedial measures to the Government and Parliament.