Bersih slams Putrajaya’s RM17.8m aid, Aidiladha allocation for mosques in Sg Bakap ahead of by-election

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) has today criticised the recent allocation announcements by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and Housing and Local Government Minister Nga Kor Ming in Penang.

The electoral watchdog said it strongly condemns the use of government resources during election periods, whether in by-elections or general elections.

“These type of announcements have become a new norm for the Madani Government when approaching by-elections,” it said in a press release, highlighting a shift in stance from when the current government was in opposition.

On June 11, Prime Minister Anwar, through his political secretary Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, delivered contributions worth RM290,000 to nine mosques and 20 suraus in the Sungai Bakap state constituency for Aidiladha.

Each mosque and surau received RM10,000 to be used in conjunction with Aidiladha on June 17, and on the same day, Nga also presented a cheque worth RM17.8 million for the construction of a fire station, the upgrading of Bukit Panchor market, and contributions to non-Islamic places of worship.

“It is commonly known that after the announcement of a seat vacancy by the Speaker of the House of Representatives or the State Legislative Assembly, a by-election will be held. Therefore, ministers at both the federal and state government levels should be aware of the limits of their function during this time,” it added.

The organisation emphasised its 3C prohibitions during elections: “No Conditions, No Campaigning, and No Candidates” for non-caretaker governments, which was established since the 2023 state elections.

Bersih argued that the continued practice of using government resources in elections contradicts the principle of fair political competition and erodes public confidence in the election system.

The group also called for comprehensive guidelines related to the ethics of non-caretaker and caretaker governments during election periods to be enacted into law.

“The Madani Government must realise that election goodies like these allocations will not make the government more popular, but will be seen as using any means, including methods previously condemned as unfair, and thus erode public trust in clean and fair elections,” it said.

In April, Bersih had similarly criticised Nga for a RM521 million allocation for infrastructure upgrades in Kuala Kubu Baru ahead of a by-election, labelling it as vote-buying.

It also questioned the timing of the Selangor government’s Raya open house in Kuala Kubu Baru amid nomination day for the by-election, suggesting it was politically motivated.