16 May 2019
Press statement by MCA National Youth Deputy Chairman Tan Chee Hiong
Inappropriate for government officers to campaign during office hours
The request by the Prime Minister that the Election Commission (EC) to rethink its curbs against Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers from campaigning during office hours is unacceptable, as campaigning during office hours contravenes the principles of equality during an election.
If EC bows to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad’s request, the PH Ministers and their Deputies will openly campaign and abuse their power to garner voter support.
EC should not entertain the said suggestion by Dr Mahathir to ensure a clean and transparent election process may proceed smoothly. The curbs by EC against the Ministers and Deputy Ministers is reasonable indeed, because they are working in the capacity as national leaders during office hours.
At the moment, despite the curbs by election laws, Ministers and Deputy Ministers have frequently carried out visits openly and exploited the opportunity to announce allocations and major projects to fish for ballots.
Todate, 8 by-elections have been held. Each time there is a by-election, there certainly arises complaints against PH Ministers who are said to have abuse their powers and posts. This includes the announcements of major projects or allocations for the respective constituencies.
Nevertheless, todate, EC has not taken any action against them. In fact, the suggestion by the Prime Minister that Cabinet Ministers be permitted to campaign during office hours interferes with the democratic process and breaches the principles of a level playing field during an election.
Tan Chee Hiong
MCA National Youth Deputy Chairman