Bersih questions timing of govt allocations for Kimanis residents

Sabah Rural Development Minister Ewon Benedick (right) inspecting the surau at Kampung Pantai Sri Gading in Membakut.

BEAUFORT: Election watchdog Bersih 2.0 is unhappy over announcements of development allocations and actions by government officials ahead of the Kimanis by-election nomination day.

Bersih’s Sabah branch told a media conference today that there were at least three instances over the past two days of such “unethical” incidents.

The first involved Sabah Rural Development Minister Ewon Benedick announcing the upgrading of a road access to a surau in Kampung Pantai Sri Gading in Membakut, one of two state constituencies under Kimanis.

Another was Agriculture and Agro-based Minister Salahuddin Ayub giving out cheques worth RM90,000 to upgrade a jetty in Kampung Biau, Bongawan, the other state constituency.

“The third one involved state assemblymen Ben Chong and Junz Wong giving out aid to flood victims yesterday in Binsulok, Membakut,” it said.

“All these could be construed as unethical given their proximity to the Kimanis by-election, and could lead to the inducement of votes.”

Tanjong Kapor assemblymen Ben Chong (third from left) and Tanjung Aru assemblyman Junz Wong (fifth from left) with villagers after giving out aid to flood victims in Binsulok, Membakut.

Bersih called on political parties to toe the line, adding that it will deploy observers to keep an eye on political parties and the contesting candidates.

“We will report to the Election Commission and relevant authorities if they are found flouting election rules,” they said.

Bersih also said it had invited the two candidates vying for the Kimanis parliamentary seat for a forum on Jan 10, adding the venue will be notified soon if the candidates agreed.

Barisan Nasional’s Mohamad Alamin will take on Warisan’s Karim Bujang in a two-way fight, with both candidates expected to step up their campaigning efforts before polling on Jan 18.