PETALING JAYA: Electoral reforms coalition Bersih 2.0 has criticised a “working visit” to Semenyih by Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, saying it raised questions on the abuse of government machinery ahead of the by-election in the state constituency next month.
“PH leaders, especially ministers and deputy ministers, must set a higher ethical standard when it comes to abiding to the principles of clean and fair elections,” the group told FMT in a statement.
Syed Saddiq is also the Youth chief of PPBM, the party which is contesting the by-election to represent Pakatan Harapan (PH) on March 2.
Yesterday, he took part in several programmes in Semenyih, including a bicycle ride, a football competition and a cooking contest.
He also distributed free engine oil to motorcyclists, prompting a response from former prime minister Najib Razak who asked if more “Santa Clauses” would be making their way to the constituency.
Bersih questioned Syed Saddiq’s excuse that the programmes had been pre-planned long before the Semenyih seat fell vacant.
“Such programmes, even if planned long before the Semenyih seat was declared vacant, could have been postponed until after polling day, or a senior officer from the ministry could have carried them out if they are urgent,” it said.
It added that “ministerial visits” coinciding with election campaigns were a continuation of the “culture of non-separation” between the government and party as practised by the previous government.
“Malaysians wants to see a change in how election campaigns are conducted, in the spirit of fair play, not the abuse of incumbency.”