The police in Kuala Terengganu by-election campaign should not apply double standards and should treat Datuk Seri Najib Razak as one of the party leaders in town for the by-election and not as a Deputy Prime Minister or Prime Minister-elect.
At a time when the retiring Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is trying to give new life to his National Integrity Plan and anti-corruption efforts in his last three months in office, the way the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election is conducted will be a test as to whether his national integrity efforts and the newly-minted Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) have any real meaning.
For instance, would the police in Kuala Terengganu treat Najib at par with other party leaders, whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat, for the duration of the by-election, as there is no business for a Deputy Prime Minister to be campaigning in Kuala Terengganu in his official capacity.
Najib is in Kuala Terengganu as UMNO Deputy President and Barisan Nasional Deputy Chairman and not as Deputy Prime Minister, and this distinction must be scrupulously observed not only by the police and all relevant government departments but also by Najib himself!
Najib should dispense with the horde of police outriders during his visit to Kuala Terengganu to show that he is not abusing his powers and be an example to all other Ministers and VIPs – that they should not misuse scarce police personnel and resources in having to provide outriders and escorts.
Najib should issue a clear directive that during the duration of the by-election, no police outriders or escorts would be provided to Cabinet Ministers or what-not VIPs for they will be campaigning in their party capacities.
Or is this one reason for sending 6,000 police reinforcements to Kuala Trengganu for the by-election, more to provide escort-riders and VIPs to the horde of Ministers, Deputy Ministers and other BN VIPs expected to descend on Kuala Terengganu during the 11-day by-election campaign?
This is why the police arrest of five members of Parti Keadilan Rakyat youth wing, including the Terengganu Youth chief Faris Musa, is a matter of grave concern.
Is this already proof of police double standards in the Kuala Terengganu by-election?
Why should the five be arrested for putting up posters of murdered Mongolian national Altantunya Shaariibuu as part of the Kuala Terengganu by-election campaign starting tomorrow, just because Najib will be in town for the by-election nomination tomorrow?
Furthermore, will the MACC be in Kuala Terengganu to take action against all those guilty of electoral offences corrupting the voting the process – as for instance the public pledge by the Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said that the state government would spend RM5.8 million to repair drains and roads and carry out several small projects in Kuala Terengganu provided the Barisan Nasional candidate wins?
This is money politics and political corruption at their most blatant. If the MACC is as indifferent and impotent as the previous Anti-Corruption Agency to such blatant electoral corruption, there cannot be a worse start for the new MACC which is supposed to be another ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption of Hong Kong) in its first week of establishment!