Political reform groups ditch SNAP

Haris Ibrahim fields press questions after announcing MCLC’s break with SNAP

Two political reform groups have ditched the Sarawak National Party after the party was said to have mysteriously come into a lot of money, and after reports of a secret deal with the Barisan Nasional to keep it in power.

The Kuala Lumpur-based Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement, founded by Haris Ibrahim and Raja Petra Kamarudin, washed its hands of SNAP just a month after announcing a strategic alliance with the party as part of moves to end the 30-year rule of Taib Mahmud.

In Sarawak, the local Movement for Change in Sarawak, led by Francis Paul Siah (formerly with Malaysian Mirror) cut off links with SNAP and said it would lodge police reports on the party’s sudden purchases of new vehicles.

MCLM, an independent lobby for political reform, hopes to effect change in Malaysian electoral politics by helping to screen prospective candidates for elections, to ensure their integrity, after a spate of defections from parties in Pakatan Rakyat.

Founded by Haris Ibrahim (its current president) and Raja Petra Kamarudin, MCLM has offered four independent candidates to Pakatan Rakyat parties to include in their slate for the next general election.

The movement said in a statement on Friday that SNAP had recently reneged on an agreement on training of potential candidates, after which the party unilaterally announced a first slate of 16 candidates — “none of whom, as far as we know, had been screened to ensure capability and integrity”. A second slate of SNAP candidates were also of questionable integrity, MCLM said.

MCLM decided to pull the plug on the partnership with SNAP after receiving no response to information received by MCLM and reports in Sarawak Report and Free Malaysia Today that SNAP had entered received funds from Barisan Nasional in a secret deal with BN to keep the ruling party in power.