2012 Merdeka Day Message by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in George Town on 31.8.2012
Restoring Public Integrity, Political Accountability And Democratic Rights Of The People To Choose Their Elected Representatives.
In a statement made yesterday, Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said that the administration of states under Pakatan Rakyat is merely based on the strong foundations built by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government for 50 years.
Addressing the Penang state government in particular, he added that, “Lim Guan Eng may not be able to administer Penang as a state if its foundation is not strong.”
Although Shafie’s words were meant as criticism, he had in fact delivered a backhanded compliment. By stating that the success of the PR states is due to BN’s solid foundations, Shafie is actually admitting how well PR has governed, particularly in Penang.
The PR Penang state government has proven our commitment to provide good and clean governance as a basis for social and economic development. By institutionalising the CAT principles of Competency, Accountability and Transparency, the Penang state government has produced budget surpluses every year, reduced corruption, saved the MPSP from near-bankruptcy and indeed, restored public trust in government. As a result of our judicious financial administration, we have been able to implement a host of social welfare programmes that have succeeded in alleviating the peoples’ burden as well as eliminating hardcore poverty.
Apart from providing good governance, it is very important to continue pushing for reforms in the political and economic sphere. In the last few years, we have made drastic reforms such as the introduction of open competitive tenders, the Freedom of Information Enactment, instituted public declaration of assets by the Chief Minister and the state EXCO, as well as passing the Local Government Elections Enactment.
Now, we are attempting to restore the intrinsic rights of the people by proposing an anti-hopping law to prevent elected representatives elected on a party ticket to hop or cross over. We believe that anyone elected on a party ticket should resign their seat and seek a fresh mandate from the people if they chose to leave the party platform on which they were elected on. Democracy, accountability and ethical conduct demands that the voters be given another opportunity to pass judgment whether such a decision by the elected representative to hop over is acceptable or not.
We believe that for our country to move forward, there is no choice but to restore public integrity, political accountability and the democratic rights of the people, especially in choosing their own elected representatives.
LIM GUAN ENG