JOHOR BARU, Oct 22 — Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal has today defended the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government for allegations of contravening election laws by handing out allocations to Tanjung Piai residents.
He said it is the norm for ministers to do so when visiting an area.
“A majority of the allocations came from the late Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik when he was the Tanjung Piai MP before his passing last month,” said Dr Sahruddin after attending two million hours incident free and ballot voting for contract projects in rural areas at the Thistle Hotel today.
Dr Sahruddin, who is also the PH election director for the Tanjung Piai by-election, explained that the allocation was also to help the area out.
“The allocations that have been announced will help improve infrastructures around the Tanjung Piai area,” he said.
Dr Sahruddin’s response came after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad defended the announcement of several projects in the constituency in Parliament earlier today, saying it was a mere coincidence.
He explained that the government’s job is to budget for development projects and that Tanjung Piai was no different.
The PH government has been criticised by the Opposition and electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 for abusing the government machinery and announcing projects worth some RM7.3 million in less than a week at the Tanjung Piai parliamentary constituency.
Earlier today, the Election Commission (EC) explained that it is not the proper authority to determine the announcement of projects close to a poll constitutes an offence.
EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun said any opinion it made on this would be inadmissible in court.
“It must be stressed that the EC is not a proper authority to determine whether such acts contravene election laws or otherwise.
The EC has set November 2 as Nomination Day and November 16 as polling day for the Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election.
The by-election was triggered after incumbent, Dr Md Farid died of heart complications on September 21.
Dr Md Farid, who was from PH’s Bersatu, won the seat in the GE14 after he defeated MCA’s Wee Jeck Seng who represented BN by only 524 votes in a three-cornered contest. The third candidate is Nordin Othman from PAS who had secured 2,962 votes.
The Tanjung Piai constituency is a mixed seat with 57 per cent Malays, 42 per cent Chinese and 1 per cent Indian.
The seat has been traditionally been contested by MCA and DAP since 2004. In 2018, DAP gave the seat to Bersatu to contest under its PH campaign.
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