The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) is disappointed with the conduct of the Pakatan Harapan government’s abuse of state resources during the Tanjung Piai by-elections.
This comes after Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal announced yesterday that 1,513 fishermen in southern Johor, including 544 fishermen from Tanjung Piai will receive a special aid of RM1,000 each beginning next week from the state government.
“This attempt to fish for votes from fishermen is not illegal under current laws, but it is clearly unethical for a political party to use tax-payers’ money to win elections,” the coalition steering committee said in a statement today.
They also urge the Johor MB to demonstrate that the PH government adheres to the principles of free and fair elections by withholding the handouts and other government allocations until after the by-elections in Nov 16.
“We acknowledge that the function of the government must carry on during by-elections but for constituencies that are being contested, such announcement or distribution of new aids and allocations should cease as soon as a seat has been declared vacant or be made after the by-election to ensure a level playing field,” said Bersih.
Apart from Sahruddin, Bersih also called out federal Ministers like Syed Saddiq, Rina Harun and Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub for making monetary allocations on their visits to Tanjung Piai before and during the campaign period.
“They have justified their allocations by denying they were fishing for votes, but the timing of their generosity makes their justifications sound like lame excuses,” they said.
They further reiterate that they are not saying the ministers have violated election laws and call for all parties to support electoral reforms and amendments to the Election Offences Act 1954, to ensure that there is level playing field during elections. – The Sun Daily