Reconsider move to allow use of govt vehicles and drivers during political campaigns

GEORGE TOWN: Gerakan has urged the Election Commission (EC) to reconsider its decision to allow the use of government vehicles and drivers during political campaigns if both are listed as part of their security detail.

Its president Datuk Dominic Lau Hoe Chai also urged the EC to take the necessary actions to uphold clean and fair elections and protect electoral democracy.

“We also hope electoral watchdogs, Bersih 2.0, and other non-governmental organisations would speak up on the matter.

“I am disappointed with the statement by EC chairman Azhar Harun who had said that Cabinet members could use government vehicles and drivers during political campaigns if both are listed as part of their security detail,” he said today.

Lau said the EC’s Election Code of Ethics (Tataetika Pilihan Raya) clearly stated that government-owned vehicles could not be used for campaign purposes.

“Does the latest statement by the EC wrongly interpret the clause and possibly open the door for more similar offences in future?

“We are concerned that theEC might have wrongly condoned the misuse of government vehicle in the election campaign by Pakatan Harapan.

“The EC, as an independent commission, can’t be perceived like rationalising what is clearly an electoral offence or malpractice that threatens electoral democracy as well as free and fair elections,” he added.

Lau said it was incumbent upon the EC to uphold fairness in the election.

“It is unfair for contesting parties in an election with Cabinet members campaigning using government vehicles which is an advantage to the ruling coalition.

“The EC should also consider carefully before making such a statement as it might send a wrong message that financial accountability of the government is exempted in elections.

“Apart from being unfair in elections, we believe the use of government vehicle to campaign is akin to abusing public funds,” he noted.

According to Lau, they had witnessed similar offence reported during the Cameron Highlands by-election last month.

He said PH supporters were brazenly defying the law as a government vehicle was allegedly misused during campaigning.

He pointed to a video clip, which has since gone viral, showing a Pakatan flag attached to the vehicle.

“With the latest statement by EC chairman, it could set the precedent for similar electoral malpractices in future elections,” he stressed.

 

Source: https://goo.gl/5sj3NT

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