Govt activities in Semenyih not illegal unless they are to fish for votes: EC

Azhar Azizan Harun.

PUTRAJAYA: The government’s ongoing activities in Semenyih cannot be considered to be in violation of election laws as long as they are not being done to fish for votes, said Election Commission (EC) chairman Azhar Azizan Harun.

He said everyone should realise that the Semenyih state by-election is being held with the government already in place and that the Selangor state assembly has not been dissolved.

“When the government is still in place, there will be such government activities.

“If these activities are being used to fish for votes, then it becomes an issue,” he said when asked to comment on the presence of many Cabinet members in Semenyih, just a day before the date of nomination for the March 2 by-election.

Speaking to reporters after three EC members — Ramlan Ibrahim, Chin Phaik Yoong and Zoe Randhawa —reported for duty at the EC headquarters today, Azhar explained that it was up to the court to make a final call.

He said the government would surely be able to justify its activities in Semenyih and prove that they were not being carried out to woo the voters should the matter be brought to court.

Asked about preparations for the Semenyih by-election, Azhar said the EC was 100% ready.

He added that the by-election, the sixth since the 14th general election on May 9 last year, would cost RM1.8 million and involve 992 workers.

The death of the assemblyman, Bakhtiar Mohd Nor, from PPBM, necessitated the by-election. He died of a heart attack on Jan 11.

In last year’s general election, Bakhtiar received 23,428 votes to defeat Barisan Nasional’s Johan Abd Aziz, who garnered 14,464 votes.

Mad Shahmidur Mat Kosim of PAS (who got 6,966 votes) and Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s S Arutchelvan (1,293 votes) were in the third and fourth spot.