Anti-graft group: Anwar administration should end cycle of using govt funds to sway votes towards ruling coalition

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — The Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center) said today that federal funding was being used to encourage voters to lean towards the ruling coalition after Housing and Local Government Minister Nga Kor Ming announced a RM5.21 million allocation for projects in Hulu Selangor with specific funds for development and maintenance projects specifically in Kuala Kubu Baru before its by-election on May 11.

The minister’s reasoning for the sudden announcement of funds — that the area was an auspicious place with good “feng shui” — was insufficient and unbefitting of a cabinet minister, the pressure group said.

“Was this truly the sole consideration which led to the decision being made, in light of all prevailing circumstances?

“The message and intent here appear to be clear: federal funding is being utilised as a flashy encouragement to vote for the candidate from the ruling coalition,” C4 Center said in a statement here.

The group also highlighted that it was common for federal funding to be approved and announced before an election.

“This isn’t the first time this has occurred under the Anwar administration.

“In recent by-elections, the present government has continuously demonstrated its blatant disregard for reform of this practice,” it said in the statement.

Last July, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced an additional grant of RM100,000 for the Central Terengganu Development Authority (Ketengah) Youth Association for youth development activities in the state, ahead of the by-elections that took place the next month.

This move was defended by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke.

The group emphasised that unethical campaigning would damage the nation’s democracy and public participation in governance.

“The Anwar administration should cease its complicity in the unethical practices of past leaders and take the initiative to introduce progressive institutional and legal reforms in consultation with civil society stakeholders.

“Members of the public must also shed the mindset that such ‘goodies’ should be expected in the lead-up to elections, as this merely perpetuates the dependence of our democratic system on money politics and paves the way for politicians to find ways to legitimise the practice of vote buying,” C4 Center said in their statement.

On Thursday, Nga announced that his ministry had allocated a total of RM5.21 million to upgrade public infrastructure facilities under the supervision of the Hulu Selangor Municipal Council (MPHS) and the Chinese New Village Project in Hulu Selangor.

Nga, during his visit to Kuala Kubu Baru, said the allocation included 14 projects worth RM4.82 million to be implemented by MPHS and the Village Community Management Council.

This action was also condemned by the electoral watchdog, Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) for violating its 3C guidelines: “No Conditions, No Campaign and No Candidates.”

Earlier this month, Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Salleh announced that the by-election for the vacant Kuala Kubu Baru seat in Selangor’s state legislative assembly will take place on May 11, 2024.

The late Lee Kee Hiong from DAP held the Kuala Kubu Baru state legislative assembly seat from 2013 until her death on March 21 this year.