Bersih 2.0 slams politicians advertising themselves on Covid-19 gifts

Bersih 2.0 reminds politicians that relief goods are usually bought using taxpayers’ money.

PETALING JAYA: Bersih 2.0 today urged politicians to immediately stop advertising their photos and names on Covid-19 relief goods that have been bought with taxpayers’ money.

Photos of federal ministers such as Azmin Ali (PPBM), Annuar Musa (Umno) and Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Umno) as well as menteris besar such as Mukhriz Mahathir (Kedah) and Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail (Pahang) have recently been featured on Covid-19 care packages.

In a statement released today, the election reform group’s steering committee expressed concern over faces and names of elected politicians appearing on Covid-19 gifts, such as rice bags and hand sanitisers, for constituents as some of these might involve abuse of government funds.

Highlighting 19 different politicians who have either lent their faces or names to these care packages, Bersih 2.0 called on all representatives involved to publicly declare the cost and source of such gifts.

Other politicians named by Bersih 2.0 include Chan Ming Kai (PKR), Fahmi Fadzil (PKR), Hannah Yeoh (DAP), Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz (PAS), Khalid Samad (Amanah), Lim Lip Eng (DAP), Najwan Halimi (PKR), Nga Kor Ming (DAP), Noraini Ahmad (Umno), Saifuddin Abdullah (PPBM), Summugam Rengasamy (PKR), Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (PPBM), Veerapan Superamaniam (DAP) and Young Syefura Othman (DAP).

“If government funds are abused for politicians to seek gratification, it may warrant investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) under Section 23 of the MACC Act,” warned Bersih 2.0.

Bersih 2.0 pushed for the introduction of rigorous regulation and an oversight mechanism on all constituency-level funding, administered by federal and state lawmakers, so as to prevent politicians from claiming credit for contributions made by taxpayers.

In addition, the NGO also called for the lifting of excessive restrictions on civil society organisation’s relief work for the marginalised so as not to create a captive market for “popularity-hungry politicians”.

Pointing out that the posters of Selangor’s Covid-19 stimulus package were “inappropriate” as they feature Chief Minister Amirudin Shari, instead of the Selangor state government he leads, Bersih 2.0 stressed that “promotion of a personality cult is bad for democracy”.