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Stop handouts from cheap politicians

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Aliran unequivocally backs Bersih 2.0’s demand that the Electoral Commission takes stern action against caretaker governments at the federal and state levels that recently used government funds for election purposes.

A caretaker government cannot and should not use government funds to organise political rallies and meetings. Neither should it initiate new policies and make major decisions during the interim period until a new government comes into office.

The prime minister, menteris besar and chief ministers should not give handouts – in the forms of cash, aid cards, refrigerators, laptops, etc – that may be perceived as a conscious attempt at buying votes

These ‘goodies’ are tantamount to vote-buying or inducements to vote. They give incumbents, especially those with official positions, an upper hand as they have access to government funds to finance these handouts and other incentives for voters.

Government funds should not be used for campaign purposes.

Caretaker leaders of Pakatan Harapan state governments should refrain from such practices; otherwise, they might find themselves labelled as pots calling the kettle black when they criticise the BN for corrupt practices. The ethical bar must be raised especially by those who have been calling for political reform all these years.

During this period, any government programme that had been arranged before the dissolution of Parliament and the emergence of a caretaker government should only be carried out or facilitated by the civil service, not by ministers or state exco members.

That said, it would be a warped interpretation of this etiquette when you have, say, a top civil servant happily giving a helping hand to a couple of ministers at a “lelong” session in downtown Kuala Lumpur recently in an apparent move to court – and buy – voters.

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At a time when the rakyat is ready to support initiatives to eradicate corruption in our political culture, such political misconduct in campaigning must be stopped at all costs.

Aliran executive committee
17 April 2018

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