KUCHING: Sarawak Barisan Nasional will submit its list of potential candidates for the upcoming general election to the relevant government agencies for a thorough screening.
This to ensure all candidates are eligible to contest and have no red flags that may signal a future disqualification, said chief minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
The state Barisan chairman said the list would be submitted to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), police, Immigration Department and Inland Revenue Board.
He said it was important to conduct strict vetting early on to ensure candidates are clean and not involved in any graft or abuses of power, possess dual citizenship, have tax issues, breached any laws or are under investigation for any criminal offences.
“We will vet all potential candidates before their nominations are finalised to ensure no one will be mixed-up in issues that could lead to their disqualification in the future.
“We don’t want to take anything for granted. We also don’t want a situation where, halfway through their service as an elected representative, our YBs are disqualified because of some violation or non-compliance,” he told reporters after opening the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Satok delegate meeting here yesterday.
Abang Johari cited the situation in Australia earlier this year when deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce was disqualified for having a dual Australian-New Zealand citizenship.
The dual citizenship row has cost nine MPs including Joyce their seats and the government its majority. Under constitutional rules, MPs must be citizens of Australia alone.
Joyce, who renounced his New Zealand citizenship, won the New England by-election on Dec 2 and is back in Parliament.
In May, the Sarawak Legislative Assembly disqualified DAP’s Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choong as a member as he had previously acquired Australian citizenship.
However, Dr Ting was retained as an elected representative after the Kuching High Court ruled in his favour, in the suit he filed against the state legislative assembly over his disqualification.
The Court of Appeal reserved judgment after hearing an appeal in October.
Abang Johari also gave an assurance that all state elected representatives from PBB would not be nominated for the general election so that other qualified leaders could have the opportunity to contest.
He hoped other Sarawak Barisan component parties followed suit to ensure there was no dual representation in the state and parliamentary seats within the Barisan fold.
Tan Sri William Mawan, party-less Barisan MP for Saratok, is the only one in that situation as he is also Pakan assemblyman.