PRESS RELEASE (23rd January, 2019 ): Is The Menteri Besar of Pahang Threatening Voters in Cameron Highlands?

The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) wishes to refer to a statement made by the Pahang Menteri Besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail on the 21st of January, 2019 at an officiating ceremony for a hall in Tien Hou Temple, Habu, Cameron Highlands. This was reported in the MalaysiaKini’s report entitled, “Let’s help each other, Pahang MB tells voters.”

It was reported he told an audience that he does not want to promise anything with regard to Temporary Occupation Licenses (TOL), except that the local farmers’ lot would improve compared to what it is now. He said, “I hope you all understand that we are all friends. We want to help but you too must help. If we help each other that’s even better. “But I don’t want to promise we can solve everything. You have to remember, if I can solve it, no problem! I will help,” he said. He then urged the audience to vote for BN during polling day on Jan 26 because land matters are under the state government’s jurisdiction.

Bersih 2.0 view the alleged statement by Wan Rosdy with grave concern as he is reminding the voters in Cameron Highlands that as the state MB he has the power to decide on land matters. To a farming community such as Cameron Highlands, the security of land tenure is a matter of great importance as their livelihood depends on it.

Bersih 2.0 is of the view that political parties should not abuse their power as Federal or State government to turn incumbency into basis for patronage to discriminate against constituencies that did not vote for their parties. Governments has a responsibility to discharge their duties to all citizens without bias and carry out their duties based on clear criteria and existing policies.

Wan Rosdy should also be reminded that such remarks could be deemed as undue influence, an election offence under Section 9 of the Election Offences Act 1954 or even an abuse of power as defined under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act 2009.  The election offence under the EOA 1954 carries a penalty of imprisonment for up to 2 years, RM5,000 fine or both while the penalty for abuse of power carries a jail term of up to 20 years.

Bersih 2.0 urges Wan Rosdy to immediately clarify his remarks and give assurance to voters in Cameron Highlands that he will carry out his duty as the Menteri Besar and work to resolve all outstanding issues, especially land issues, with whoever gets elected on Polling Day this coming 26th January. Voters should not be subjected to such threat on their livelihood when casting their votes.

Statement issued by:

The Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee