Using Government Resources for Election Campaigns Violates Election Ethics

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) refers to the statement made by Deputy Minister of Works, YB Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, on June 24 during a speech in Nibong Tebal. According to a report by Malaysiakini, he stated that it is not a crime to organize programs or make funding announcements during a by-election because the ministers attend these programs in their capacity as ministers and it is a “coincidence” that there is a by-election.

BERSIH condemns the recent statement by the Deputy Minister of Works, asserting that such actions are not wrong, and therefore they continue these unethical practices. BERSIH would like to remind that the practice of using government resources and machinery during election campaigns contradicts the good practices of clean and fair elections at the international level. For instance, Article 4(1) of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Declaration states that countries must ensure a separation between the Government and Parties to ensure clean and fair elections.

Additionally, government programs involving donations, such as in the case of Dato’ Mohd Zubir bin Embong vs. Datuk Hj Ahmad Amzad bin Mohamed@Hashim, where the Election Court on June 27, 2023, declared the Kuala Terengganu Parliamentary seat vacant, which was held by Ahmad Amzad at the time, due to several acts of bribery and corruption, including the provision of assistance from the Terengganu State Government at the time.

BERSIH has also issued the 3C guidelines (No Campaign, No Conditions, No Candidates) for any activities of the Non-Interim Government such as the Federal Government and State Government during the by-election period, which had to be held during the by-election campaign period.

BERSIH also emphasizes that the statement by the Deputy Minister of Works contradicts the message from the Prime Minister on June 12, 2024, through the statement by YB Fahmi Fadzil for all Cabinet members to comply with election laws during the Sungai Bakap by-election campaign period.

Furthermore, BERSIH will continue to urge the parties in the Madani Government, especially from Pakatan Harapan, which has been advocating for reforms for over two decades, to fulfill their promises. Do not keep repeating mistakes even after being repeatedly reprimanded, as old habits die hard.

Therefore, it is important to emphasize the need for the Madani government to outline an immediate election reform plan along with a timeline for its implementation during the current government’s mandate period.

Released by:
The Steering Committee of BERSIH