Bersih lodges police report against DPM Zahid for influencing Pulai voters by promising approval for PPR upgrading project

JOHOR BARU, Sept 7 — The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) lodged a police report today against Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for alleged manipulation and bribery during his visit to a People’s Housing Project (PPR) in Taman Perling here last week.

The police report was lodged by a Bersih by-election observer at the Johor Baru South district police headquarters here today after she came across a video clip of the alleged election offence by Ahmad Zahid on Tuesday.

Bersih chairman Thomas Fann said the decision to lodge the report was made after much consideration based on the video clip during Ahmad Zahid’s visit to the Melana Indah PPR in Taman Perling here last Sunday.

“During the event, Ahmad Zahid made a speech to unduly influence Pulai voters by saying that the PPR upgrading project will be reviewed and approved on condition that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate wins the Pulai by-election on September 9,” he said.

“If not, the application from Datuk Mohd Jafni (Md Shukor), the Johor Housing and Local Government Committee chairman, will be “looked at” again,” he said when met by reporters outside the Johor Baru South district police headquarters in Larkin here today.

Fann was commenting on alleged election offences made by the deputy prime minister during his one-day working visit here last Sunday.

He said Bersih believes that Ahmad Zahid’s speech on that day should be investigated as it violates Section 9 for undue influence and Section 10 for bribery under the Election Offences Act 1954.

Fann added that Ahmad Zahid’s speech also contradicts the 3C principles (no conditions, no campaigns, no candidates) that has been outlined by Bersih for the conduct of non-caretaker governments during an election period.

“Any government announcements or considerations made by non-caretaker governments.

“In the case of the Pulai and Simpang Jeram by-elections, the federal and the Johor governments cannot be made with conditions, with candidates present or use government functions to campaign, as was done by Ahmad Zahid,” he said, calling on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to immediately control the conduct of Cabinet members by issuing a caretaker and non-caretaker government guidelines so that government resources and machinery are not misused by ministers to campaign.

Fann pointed out that this was not the first time that Ahmad Zahid as the deputy prime minister, had committed such violations as a similar speech was made by him during the recent six state elections campaign in Kuala Terengganu.

“Such conditional announcements of government allocations applies undue pressure on voters to vote freely and such campaign behaviour are unlikely to generate support for the government.

“We hope that the rest of the campaign for this two by-elections and the next Pelangai by-election will be conducted in a clean, fair and democratic manner,” he said.

On the issue thar Bersih’s observes were not present during the event at the PPR Melana Indah in Taman Perling and was reliant on a video clip, Fann said it was not a problem as the offences were clear.

He said Bersih’s job was to monitor and report any election offences.

“We will leave the investigation aspect of the alleged offences to the police,” he said.

(First published by MalayMail on 7 September 2023: