Nothing wrong with announcing projects as Parliament not dissolved, says EC

Election Commission chairman Azhar Harun (middle) speaks to police officers at the Rantau police station.

SEREMBAN: The Election Commission (EC) today said it is not wrong to announce government projects ahead of by-elections as Parliament has not been dissolved.

EC chairman Azhar Harun said the government is allowed to announce projects that can benefit the people.

“But they need to come forward to clarify that the announcement is not meant to fish for votes,” he told reporters when met at the Rantau police station.

He was asked to comment on the announcement by Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook that the East Coast Rail Link would be rerouted to benefit Negeri Sembilan if the project resumes after negotiations with China at the end of the month.

This came after Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng hinted at the possibility if Putrajaya is able to reduce the cost of construction from RM66 billion to RM35 billion.

Azhar said the commission had also received many reports concerning government activity.

He added that the government must justify that the announcements are not part of election campaigns.

Barisan Nasional was previously taken to task for announcing government projects in the run-up to the May 9 polls.

The Rantau by-election on April 13, the seventh since last May, will see a four-cornered fight among Pakatan Harapan’s Dr Streram Sinnasamy, BN’s Mohamad Hasan and two independents, Malar Rajaram and Mohd Nor Yassin.