MCA Youth supports Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim's warning of disciplinary action against Ministers, civil servants, or government agencies found using government resources during election campaigns. However, this ban should not only apply after nomination day but also upon the vacancy of a seat to prevent ruling state or federal governments from exploiting loopholes.

In view of the decision by the Prime Minister in the Dewan Rakyat on July 9, 2024, the Election Commission (EC) must now cooperate and rigorously enforce this measure, enhancing monitoring to ensure an even playing field during any elections.

Implementing this rule only post-nomination is inadequate. Typically, from seat vacancy until the EC determines nomination and polling dates (approximately a month), limiting campaigning to just two weeks post-nomination will legitimise incumbent authorities taking advantage of loopholes and distributing 'election candies' freely beforehand.

It is too much of a coincidence that recent by-elections in Kuala Kubu Baru (Selangor) and Sungai Bakap (Penang) witnessed Housing and Local Government Minister YB Nga Kor Ming announce allocations shortly before nominations after the seats became vacant.

Following the Kuala Kubu Baru former Assemblyman Lee Kee Hiong succumbing to cancer on March 21, Selangor declared the seat vacant immediately. The EC set nominations for April 27 and voting for May 11. However, on April 19, Nga Kor Ming announced RM5.21 million to upgrade public amenities and for New Villages under the Hulu Selangor Municipal Council.

Similarly, after Sungai Bakap former Assemblyman YB Nor Zamri Latiff departed on May 24, Penang declared the seat vacant on May 27. The EC scheduled nominations for June 22. On June 11, ahead of nominations, Nga Kor Ming announced RM17.93 million in allocations for Seberang Perai.

Sincere reform from the Prime Minister should include admonishing Nga Kor Ming's actions and prohibiting all allocations or new official activities from the seat vacancy onwards. Ministerial “candies” can wait until after the by-elections and need not be rushed or flaunted in constituencies.

We urge the Prime Minister to demonstrate genuine reform efforts and uphold the unity government's commitment to reform, avoiding contradictions between public statements and allowing Ministers to distribute “candies” when seats fall vacant.

Saw Yee Fung
MCA National Youth Secretary General

11 July 2024

-MCA Comm-