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Did Finance Minister Lim make a ‘You help me, I help you’ statement in Sandakan?

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The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) refers to various media reports that in a campaign speech in Sandakan, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had said that if DAP candidate Vivian Wong was to be elected, she could remind him to include a parking project in the next budget – but if she was not elected, then it couldn’t be helped.

If the media reports are accurate, then it is reminiscent of former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s infamous speech in 2010 in the Sibu and Hulu Selangor by-elections, where he said, “You help me, I help you,” in urging the crowd to vote for the Barisan Nasional candidate if they wanted him to give allocations for a new bridge in Sibu and a new school in Hulu Selangor. He was widely condemned by the then Opposition for bribing the voters.

If Lim was not the Finance Minister and had made such a promise to deliver an extra allocation to resolve the car parking problem at the Duchess of Kent Hospital, he would just be a politician making empty promises.

But Lim is the Finance Minister, and it is within his power to grant that extra allocation if there is a genuine need, and indeed it is his duty to do so regardless of which party the candidate or MP is from.

The MP for Kota Kinabalu, Chan Foong Hin, and candidate Wong had said that Lim’s speech was taken out of context. Bersih 2.0 calls on Lim to clarify what he meant when he said if Wong doesn’t get elected, it can’t be helped.

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We urge him to give his assurance that he will help resolve the car park issue even if Wong didn’t get elected because he is the finance minister for all Malaysians regardless of political affiliation.

Bersih 2.0 also wishes to query why the big billboard by PBS that carried Lim’s remark on the car parking issue was allegedly removed by the Electoral Commission’s enforcement team after checking with the commission’s headquarters in Putrajaya.

According to Section 27E(b) of the Election Offences Act 1954, the function of the enforcement team is to bring down any campaign material which contravenes any written laws relating to elections. While the billboard may be offensive to some, we cannot see any election offence committed that would require the Electoral Commission’s enforcement team to take immediate action.

Bersih 2.0 is deeply concerned that arm-twisting electioneering tactics such as bribery and undue influence should be used against voters. Voters must be free to make their choices without any pressure, which is why they are considered election offences.

Again, we call on Lim to come clean on this and, if indeed he had uttered such a statement, to immediately apologise to the voters of Sandakan and to pledge to serve them and the MP they elect on polling day.

Bersih 2.0 steering committee

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