Do Not Misuse Government Machinery for Campaigning

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) opines that the use of government machinery for the purpose of campaigning is to be avoided at all costs. While we acknowledge that the Federal Government still needs to carry out its duties, these tasks should be performed professionally and, as far as possible, separated from campaign activities for their party or candidates.

BERSIH is aware that Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and the Minister of Home Affairs, Saifuddin Nasution, visited a FELDA area in Kedah and used a government helicopter during their work. In such situations, BERSIH believes that the reasonable use of government machinery is acceptable, given pragmatic considerations and safety, as long as it occurs after official government duties. (1)

However, the Prime Minister and ministers must avoid mixing government duties with campaign activities. For any policy announcements and provisions, the principle of No 3C (No campaigning, no conditions, no candidate) must be strictly adhered to.

For additional campaign-related travel after official duties, the Prime Minister and these ministers should also pay pro-rata excess costs, such as the cost of helicopter fuel or transportation. In the interest of transparency and accountability, these costs should be openly declared for public monitoring.

BERSIH is aware that we cannot completely prevent the use of government machinery for campaigning, but politicians who have this advantage due to the trust bestowed upon them by the people should always remain humble and refrain from flaunting their privileges as if they personally purchased such machinery with their own money. Arrogant behavior, as demonstrated by the Prime Minister, may backfire, as the people will not approve of the misuse of government machinery for campaigning.

The use of government machinery and resources during elections that we have witnessed throughout this election cycle highlights the urgent need for the Federal Government to engage in discussions and negotiations with opposition parties to enact new legislation to control decisions, actions, and the use of resources by both Caretaker Governments (such as State Governments during state elections) and Non-Caretaker Governments (such as the Federal Government during state elections) during the election period.

Reforms advocated by the Pakatan Harapan coalition must be implemented without deviation and not merely be empty promises made during election campaigns.

Released by:
BERSIH Steering Committee