Lim Kit Siang calls on the Government not to increase the deposits for parliamentary and state candidates so as to ensure that the coming general elections is a contest of policies and political ideas, and not a contest of money.
There has been reports from more and more authoritative quarters that for the coming general elections, which we expect to be held between August 8 – August 24, the government would increase the deposits for parliamentary and state assembly candidates by three or four times.
At present, the deposit for a state assembly candidate is $250 and the deposit for a parliamentary candidate is $500.
The DAP calls on the government not to increase the deposits for parliamentary and state candidates, to ensure that the coming general elections is genuinely a contest of policies and political ideas, and not a contest of money!
If deposits for parliamentary and state assembly candidates are raised three or four times their present level, then politics in Malaysia becomes a rich man’s game, and the voice of the poor will have less chance to get heard in Parliament and the State Assemblies.
I call on the Prime Minister, Tun Razak, to look into this matter and instruct that deposits should not be raised, so that elections can be freely held, and that no undue advantage is enjoyed by the rich and the propertied classes.
Politics should never be allowed to become a rich men’s game, for once this is done, then politics becomes a business risk, a money-making proposition, and political office become a investment to make bigger riches in future.
In fact, politics today is already too bogged down by money, and to cleanse politics of opportunists and self-servers, drastic steps should be taken to ensure that money is not allowed to corrupt politics and the various legislatures in the country.
The raising of the deposits for parliamentary and state assembly seats, which will have the effect of keeping away the honest but poor from political commitment, would result in the further corruption of politics by money.
In any event, as the general elections is so close, there should be no change of any deposit amount until after the next general elections, so that Opposition parties would not be caught by surprise by frequent changes in rules governing elections a few days before nomination day.
I understand that there are proposals to change rules governing the running of the general elections. I suggest that the Elections Commission should convene a meeting of all political parties to consult and seek their views before making changes.
Although Parliament has passed the new parliamentary and state constituency delineations, the new electoral registers are still not available to the opposition parties. I call on the Elections Commission to immediately release the electoral registers to the opposition parties, so that they can find out the latest electoral structure of the newly-drawn parliamentary and state constituencies, and make the necessary preparations.