Minister Should Not Use Project Allocations To Unduly Influence Voters

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) reviewed the speech by the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Ahmad Zahid Hamidi during his visit to the Melana Indah Phase 1 Housing Program (Program Perumahan Rakyat-PPR) on September 3.

In the event, he made a speech to unduly influence Pulai voters by saying that the PPR upgrading project will be reviewed and approved on the condition that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate win the Pulai by-election on 9 September. If not, the application from Datuk Jafni, Chairman of Johor State Housing and Local Government will be ‘looked at’ again [1].

BERSIH believes this speech should be investigated because it is our view that it violates Section 9 for undue influence and Section 10 for bribery under the Election Offences Act 1954. Therefore, through our election observers (Pemerhati), we decided to make a police report at the Johor Bahru Selatan Police Headquarters today.

Furthermore, the speech contradicts the 3C principle (no conditions, no campaigns, no candidates) outlined by BERSIH for the conduct of non-caretaker governments during the 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 State Governments – cannot be made with conditions, with candidates present or use government functions to campaign, as was done by Zahid Hamidi.

BERSIH urges Prime Minister (PMX) Anwar Ibrahim to immediately control the conduct of his Cabinet members by issuing Caretaker and Non-Caretaker Government Guidelines during the election periods so that government resources and machinery are not misused by Ministers to campaign. It was not the first time the DPM has committed such violations. Previously, a similar speech was made during the recent state elections campaign in Kuala Terengganu.

Such conditional announcements of government allocations applies undue pressure on voters to vote freely and such campaign behavior 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.

Released by:
The Steering Committee of BERSIH