The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) today objected to the appointment of any lawmakers with ongoing criminal cases to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s cabinet.
In a statement today, the organisation raised its concern with suggestions by certain parties to push for Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is facing corruption charges, to be given the post of deputy prime minister.
“Bersih strongly objects to the appointment of any person who has an ongoing criminal case against him/her to any cabinet position, as they would raise doubts about the integrity of Anwar’s government and tarnish the reputation of our country,’” said Bersih.
Zahid is still facing trial for 47 criminal breaches of trust charges involving funds from Yayasan Akalbudi, while the prosecution is appealing his foreign visa system (VLN) case.
This comes after Zahid was acquitted of all 40 graft charges against him for the VLN case at the Shah Alam High Court on October 5.
Bersih also urged all parties in the coalition government to refrain from putting forth individuals with ongoing court cases for Anwar’s consideration as he forms his cabinet.
This includes DAP national chairman Lim Guan Eng, Muda president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, and Umno Sabah chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, until after their cases have been fully disposed of by the courts without any interference from the executive through the Attorney-General Chambers, said Bersih.
“Bersih points out that until and unless both the prosecution and the judiciary are absolutely free from political influence, politicians with outstanding court cases taking up executive positions are politically unacceptable as any acquittals will be seen as the granting of impunity to those aligned with the Executive, even if their cases genuinely merit acquittal.
“This would undermine public trust in both the AGC and the judiciary,’” read the statement.
Bersih also stressed the need to reform the AGC, transferring its powers to prosecute to an independent public prosecution office.
“As an immediate measure, the prosecution’s role should be temporarily transferred to the solicitor-general, the apolitical number two in the AGC, to take a neutral position on all ongoing cases, especially those involving politicians.
“The handling of these cases should not be used as bargaining chips for the formation of government or the cabinet,” added the statement.
Source : The Vibes