Aid programmes suspended to prevent vote-buying claims, says PPBM

Selangor PPBM chief Abdul Rashid Asari. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Selangor PPBM has backed Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari’s decision to suspend all aid programmes until the Semenyih by-election, saying this will prevent the opposition from making false allegations.

Speaking to FMT, Selangor PPBM chief Abdul Rashid Asari said continuing the aid programmes would have led to controversy after the election.

“The aid programmes are under the ‘Inisiatif Peduli Rakyat’ and have been carried out for years, but if they are carried out during the by-election it will become an issue.”

He added that a temporary suspension of such programmes would not affect the party’s chances in the by-election.

“Win or lose, these aid programmes will continue. I don’t think the temporary suspension will affect our campaign because people know and understand that it is not a big issue,” he said.

When asked to explain the sudden decision, Rashid said the issue had not received enough attention before the Cameron Highlands by-election, when allegations of vote-buying were hurled at Pakatan Harapan (PH).

This time, he said, PH wanted to avoid a repeat of such accusations.

Meanwhile, electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 commended Amirudin for the move.

“This demonstrates a high ethical standard of fair play and reflects well on his administration,” Bersih chairman Thomas Fann said.

Still, Fann said, greater clarity was needed for by-election campaigning as it would be unreasonable for government functions to stop during this time.

“We urge all political parties to come together with the Election Commission to discuss and agree to reasonable parameters when it comes to election offences and areas of reforms needed to our election laws,” he said.

PH will be represented in the March 2 by-election by PPBM.