KUALA LUMPUR – Although it is not against the law, Pakatan Harapan’s handout to the fishermen using the state funds during the Tanjung Piai by-election is ethically wrong.
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) said, the announcement by Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal, the Menteri Besar (MB) of Johor that a total of 1,513 fishermen in Southern Johor, including 544 fishermen in Tanjung Piai will receive their special aid of RM1,000 beginning next week.
“This attempt to fish for votes from the fishermen is not illegal under current laws, but it is clearly unethical for a political party to use tax-payers’ money to win elections,” said Bersih 2.0 in a statement today.
Therefore, BERSIH 2.0 urged the Johor MB to show the PH government’s commitment to free and fair elections by withholding handouts and other government allocations throughout the campaign period.
According to BERSIH 2.0, acknowledge that the function of 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 level playing field.
Besides the handouts to the fishermen, BERSIH 2.0 has also recorded several reports of the federal ministers announcing cash allocations during their visit to Tanjung Piai before and during the campaign period.
The group said, the justifications given by ministers such as Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, Rina Harun and Datuk Salahuddin Ayub sounded lame given the timing of their generosity.
“Bersih 2.0 once again reiterates that we are not saying that these ministers have violated any election laws because such laws governing the use of government resources do not exist yet.
“We call upon lawmakers from all parties to support electoral reforms and amendments to the Election Offences Act 1954, to ensure that when it comes to elections, the playing field is level,” said BERSIH 2.0. -MalaysiaGazette