KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — The Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Centre) today said that the nomination of Yeo Bee Yin as the DAP candidate for the Puchong parliamentary seat in the 15th general election (GE15) raised questions of possible conflict of interest.
This is because Yeo is married to IOI Properties Group Bhd CEO Lee Yeow Seng, the son of late IOI Group Berhad founder Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng, it said in a statement this afternoon.
“Notwithstanding the propriety of an active politician being married to a powerful businessperson and the telling ways in which the business-political nexus manifests, Yeo’s nomination for a Parliamentary seat in an area where her in-laws possess vast business interests smacks of potential conflict of interest concerns,” it said.
It said that the IOI Group has an interest in massive land areas across the Puchong constituency due to its main investment properties, including Puchong Financial Corporate Centre, IOI Boulevard Puchong, IOI Mall Puchong and Sheraton Puchong.
It noted that Yeo’s nomination to run in Puchong was a “glaring blind spot”, saying that at best DAP was unaware of her business connections and that at worst the connection could become a leverage for the purposes of political funding.
“The growing trend of business-in-politics and vice-versa gives rise to nepotism, cronyism, patronage politics and undue influence of business on policymaking.
“These issues must be prevented by all means as they ultimately lead to the impoverishment of the people.
“As Malaysia prepares for yet another historic general election, politicians and parties need to be reminded of Malaysia’s urgent need to curb corruption,” the C4 Centre said.
Without a Political Funding Act or asset declaration policy in place, it said political parties must remain vigilant in ensuring that the business-political next must be limited as must as possible, particularly for those parties that campaign on anti-corruption and reformist agendas.
“As someone with a personal stake in the success of the IOI Group’s operations, Yeo’s impartiality and ability to make decisions prioritising her constituency and the lives of its residents is cast in doubt, regardless of her numerous achievements as energy, science, technology, environment, and climate change (MESTECC) minister,” it went on to say.
Yeo is taking the place of DAP Selangor chief Gobind Singh Deo, who is the incumbent three-term MP for Puchong, as he is vacating the seat to seek re-election at the Damansara seat.