Bersih slams Hulu Selangor funds ahead of Kuala Kubu Baharu polls

PETALING JAYA: Bersih today hit out at housing and local government minister Nga Kor Ming for announcing an RM5.21 million allocation for Hulu Selangor residents ahead of the May 11 by-election in Kuala Kubu Baharu, citing contradictions with the principles of fair and ethical competition.

The electoral watchdog said the allocation, coupled with the minister’s call for support for a “good, caring, progressive” party, was concerning as it could be perceived as an attempt to sway voters and buy their support.

“Bersih urges the government to cease this unethical practice, which contradicts the principle of fair political competition in elections,” it said in a statement.

“Bersih observes that the continuous breaches of ethics in clean and fair elections by the unity government itself in several previous election series will erode public confidence, particularly among voters, in the electoral system and democratic processes in this country.”

Bersih also said that Nga’s announcement violated its guidelines, which prohibit conditions, campaigning, and candidate involvement in non-caretaker government activities during by-elections.

“Once again, Bersih emphasises the need to establish comprehensive guidelines on the ethics of non-caretaker and caretaker governments during election periods, commencing immediately upon the dissolution of Parliament, state legislative assemblies or the vacancy of seats, to be enacted as law.

“This is to prevent the misuse of government resources in any allocation announcement and government policy entrusted by the people,” it said.

Nga had denied that the Hulu Selangor allocation was because of the by-election, saying his ministry “chose this area because it’s an auspicious place” and that “the ‘feng shui’ here is good”.

His explanation drew criticism from Selangor Perikatan Nasional chief Azmin Ali, who was quoted by Malaysiakini as accusing DAP of practising dirty money politics to secure votes ahead of the by-election.

Selangor DAP vice-chairman Ng Suee Lim denied Azmin’s accusations, saying the housing and local government minister was simply fulfilling his responsibilities to the people.

(First published by Free Malaysia Today on 19 April 2024: https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2024/04/19/bersih-slams-hulu-selangor-funds-ahead-of-kuala-kubu-baharu-polls/)