Media Statement: Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar By-Elections – Political Parties and Candidates Must Set Higher Campaigning Standards

The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) is appalled by the ongoing by-election campaigns in Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar.
In particular, several incidents in the past few days have contributed to a negative political and campaign environment, i.e.:

  • Vandalising of campaign materials and candidate’s election operation room[1];
  • Sexist remark by independent candidate Izat Bukhary in Kuala Kangsar who said he is contesting because he “did not trust” women leaders[2];
  • Threats made by PAS supporters during Nomination Day against Amanah by calling them “Pengkhianat” and “Kuburkan Kufor (non-believers)[3];
  • Disruption of a Pakatan Harapan ceramah in Kuala Kangsar, where protestors claimed it affected the terawih prayers[4]; and
  • Political messages that added to an unhealthy campaign atmosphere such as a billboard by DAP in Sekinchan[5], although it was taken down when criticised.

In any election campaign, it is necessary for campaigns to be civil. It will be more useful for candidates and political parties to focus on crucial public interest issues, such as the 1MDB scandal, weakening economy, and deteriorating civil rights as well as local voters’ concerns.
BERSIH 2.0 calls for all stakeholders to adopt the spirit of clean, free and fair elections. All candidates and political parties must take responsibility in setting higher standards for democracy and political maturity as these are in line with the aspirations of Malaysians.
BERSIH 2.0 reiterates our earlier demand for candidates and political parties to to abide by BERSIH’s Code of Conduct and the Caretaker Government Guidelines[6] throughout the election period.
Issued by:
BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee
[3] As observed by BERSIH2.0’s PEMANTAU team on nomination day