The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) demands the Election Commission (EC) and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) take immediate action against the blatant and open abuse of government funds for electioneering, which has occurred throughout the country since the dissolution of Parliament and the State Legislative Assemblies.
BERSIH2.0 also strongly condemns the action of the caretaker State and Federal Governments that have been violating principles of caretaker governments. BERSIH 2.0 has observed and recorded undue election hand outs by politicians using funds from every State and Federal Government.
Some notable examples of undue government hand outs include:
|8 April 2018||Kelantan State Government||Kelantan Menteri Besar Dato Ahmad Yakob held a function in Kuantan, Pahang, organised by the Kelantan State Government, where he handed out TVs, fans, hampers and other goodies. At the event, he campaigned for PAS.|
|10 April 2018||Terengganu Stte Government||Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman gave RM100,000 to Tabung Amanah Warisan Polis (TAWP), a yearly contribution of RM50,000 to Persatuan Kebajikan Polis (Perkep), RM400 for every police family and RM200 for every single officer.|
|10 April 2018||Negeri Sembilan State Government||Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Mohamad Hassan handed out monetary aid to NGOs and needy individuals. The aid,bearing the state government logo, was handed out by Menteri Besar office in Wisma Negeri, Negeri Sembilan state government building.|
|11 April 2018||Penang State Government||The Penang State Government gave an additional RM17.5 million to Islamic education institutions in the state. The event was held in Permatang Pauh and present at the handover of the funds were Nurul Izzah, Wan Azizah and Mat Sabu. Lim Guan Eng used the handover to dispel allegations he is “anti-Islam”.|
|12 April 2018||Federal Government||Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak used an event organised by SPAD to announce 67,000 taxi drivers nationwide would receive the 1Malaysia Taxi Assistance Card (Kad Bantuan Teksi 1Malaysia), worth RM800 each. At the event he said, “I will not forget about taxi drivers, you are a group that is close to the government’s heart…Ladies and gentlemen, if all of you help me, I will definitely help you.”|
|14 April 2018||Selangor State Government||The Selangor State Government organised functions in Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Azmin Ali’s constituencies of Bukit Antarabangsa and Gombak. He handed out cheques, laptops and tablets. When giving the hand outs, he said, “This is a compassionate state…Amin, amin, amin, don’t forget to vote.”|
|14 April 2018||Sabah State Government||At an event organised by the Public Services Commission, Minister and MP for Tuaran Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor gave out RM1000 to a total of 66 local youth associations and said Barisan Nasional would defend the youth in Tuaran.|
|15 April 2018||Melaka State Government||Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron officiating the ground breaking ceremony of the PRIMA project in Alor Gajah.|
These hand outs given in the guise of government aid by elected politicians violate the convention of caretaker governments.
BERSIH 2.0 reiterates that caretaker government guidelines prohibit combining official visits with electioneering work. Elected officials should not make use of governmental or official machinery, resources, transport or personnel during their electioneering work. Furthermore, the caretaker government must not use monies from the federal or state consolidated funds for the purposes of holding or organising political rallies or meetings. Prior approved programmes or ongoing government aid programmes should be conducted by civil service and not caretaker Ministers of EXCO members.
These guidelines are based on the internationally accepted norms and practices of caretaker governance and were sent by BERSIH 2.0 to all political parties in 2017 as part of the Memorandum on Electoral Reforms. BERSIH 2.0 will resend the guidelines on caretaker government (attached at the end of this statement) to all State and Federal Governments, and call upon the governments to adhere to the principles.
It is not enough to just use the term ‘caretaker’ and to return official cars, but at the same time refuse to adhere to any of the meaningful practices.
So far, despite the brazen hand outs, the EC and MACC, along with their much publicised joint task force, have remained silent.
If EC Chair Tan Sri Hashim Abdullah believes these hand outs do not have any impact on the fairness of elections, he should state so publicly and let the rakyat judge his reasons. The MACC should also speak out and act against the abuse of government funds and resources.
Additionally, both bodies should produce clear guidelines of what constitutes corrupt practices during the election. Failure to do this would suggest the EC and MACC’s complicity in allowing the denigration of our elections to an open auction with votes up for sale.
The Malaysian public, especially those receiving these hand outs, must question why these goodies are being given now and if it is the best use of government funds. Questions must also be raised if this aid, such as BR1M, taxi drivers’ assistance and funding for Islamic schools could have been done earlier, but were delayed for the purposes of electioneering.
Such “goodies” are not indicative of ‘caring’ governance, but instead show a willingness to manipulate and abuse the civil service and government funds for short-term personal and political gain.
BERSIH 2.0 also call upon all voters to take action. All Malaysians must come out to vote and vote against any candidates that corruptly use government funds as a way to win the election. Vote on the quality of the manifestos and politicians’ track record rather than the size of their wallet. Whoever wins the election will have access to the same amount of funds, so vote for those who will use such funds in the interest of the rakyat.
Reports on election offences can be made to BERSIH 2.0 at aduan.pemantau.org, 011-17721546 (WhatsApp) or 03-79314444 (Hotline).
BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee