Minister says road works in election-charged Balakong a ‘coincidence’

Works Minister Baru Bian speaks at the ground breaking ceremony for road works in Balakong today.

BANGI: Works Minister Baru Bian said a ground breaking ceremony to upgrade a road in Balakong, which goes to the polls this Saturday, is not a by-election campaign by the ruling coalition.

The road improvement work will be done for Jalan Balakong, a two-way road, by Parkland Group, which is undertaking the project as a corporate social responsibility effort.

Baru had, however, at the end of his address during the ceremony urged Balakong constituents to vote for DAP’s Wong Siew Ki, who is contesting under Pakatan Harapan (PH) against MCA’s Tan Chee Teong.

Asked if he would be seen as campaigning on behalf of PH, Baru said it was a coincidence that the project was announced during the by-election campaign period.

“There are a lot of developments ongoing, and this one happens to be in an area that has a by-election. If this were to happen (in other areas), we will still proceed with things. I can’t help it.

“If someone wants to raise this issue, that is their right to do so. The government is concerned about trying to bring development everywhere in Malaysia,” he told reporters.

“Fortunately or unfortunately, I’m here and there happens to be a by-election going on.”

He added that he was part of the government and also a member of a political party that formed PH.

“Such things you cannot have a clear distinction in politics. The people can make their own conclusion, that’s okay with me.”

Baru earlier praised Parkland for its CSR efforts, saying it should be emulated by other developers, especially when the country was going through challenging times in terms of its financial situation.

The Balakong state seat fell vacant when its assemblyman Eddie Ng Tien Chee passed away in a road accident on July 20.

In the 14th general election, Ng got 41,768 votes. MCA’s Lim Chee Wah received 5,874 votes and PAS’ Mohamad Ibrahim Ghazali got 6,230 votes.

The by-election on Sept 8 will see MCA using its logo for the first time.