Sunday, February 29, 2004

Conduct Background Check Of Potential Candidates

The Barisan Nasional (BN) headquarters should conduct a background check on potential candidates to ensure that they are not bankrupt, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

He said the BN headquarters could do so after getting the permission of the respective component party presidents. Since the potential candidates would only be known at the last minute, the background check could be done two days before nominations, he told reporters here Saturday. Dr Rais said he had asked the Director-General of Insolvency Department to give full cooperation to the BN headquarters since a bankrupt could not stand for election.

He said a person could not be declared a bankrupt if his case was still pending in court. Similarly, he said a person could be a bankrupt in the past but not anymore. "Until he has a document proving so, his status will remain doubtful. As such, he must get the release letter," he said. Dr Rais said a potential candidate who was under investigation for alleged corruption was not barred from contesting under the Election Offences Act 1954.

The minister has done his part in cautioning the party presidents. However he left out more to say on the actual background of a candidate. There are other factors too to be considered and given a clean bill before one is made a candidate.

1. Educational background, ability and experience
2. Career background, performance and commitments
3. Social background, contribution and sensitivity
4. Political background
5. Health background

It is very common for parties to call for support of the party instead of the individual candidate. This normally happens when the candidate put forward is not suitable, weak or was chosen without a good reason.

True, as a party, it could serve the people better. But it is the individual candidate who is going to serve his or her constituency. It has been proven that when an unsuitable candidate is chosen and even if he is elected the people could not hope much out of him. A party will be weak if they are represented by poor members.

Barisan Nasional, knowing well that it will surely win, should not push for incapable and incompetent candidates. It is undemocratic as the voters were left with no choice. Then BN spirit only works for BN component parties, not for the rakyat during general election.

The people are free to vote. Individual will come first before the party.

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