Madani Government Should Not Become What They Once Despised

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) refers to the recent announcements of new allocations made by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and Minister of Housing and Local Government Nga Kor Ming in Penang. 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. Each mosque and surau received RM10,000 to be used in conjunction with Hari Raya Korban on the 17th of June. On the same day, Nga Kor Ming also presented a cheque worth RM17,751,284 for the construction of a fire station, the upgrading of Bukit Panchor market, and contributions to non-Islamic places of worship.

These type of announcements have become a new norm for the Madani Government when approaching by-elections, although the use of government resources during election periods was frequently opposed by them when they were in opposition.

BERSIH strongly condemns the use of government resources during elections, whether in by-elections or general elections. 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.

BERSIH has outlined the 3C prohibitions during elections, which are: No Conditions, No Campaigning, and No Candidates, which BERSIH has established since the 2023 State Elections for non-caretaker governments, such as the Federal and State Governments in the context of by-elections.

However, this unethical practice continues from one election to another. This practice contradicts the principle of fair political competition on a level playing field in elections. BERSIH sees continuous violations of clean and fair election ethics by the Madani Government itself in several previous elections, which will further erode public confidence in the election system and democratic process in the country.

Once again, BERSIH emphasizes the need for comprehensive guidelines related to the ethics of non-caretaker and caretaker governments during election periods, starting as soon as the Parliament/State Legislative Assembly is dissolved or a seat becomes vacant, to be enacted into law to prevent the misuse of government resources in any allocation announcements and government policies entrusted by the people.

The Madani Government must realize 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.

Released by:
The Steering Committee of BERSIH

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