The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) condemns the use of government resources and machinery by the Sabah state government to campaign and make promises to voters in the Sandakan by-election, as it is undue influence and abuse of government assets for political purposes.
In a video shared by Sabah Chief Minister’s political secretary, Jo Anna Rampas in her Instagram, a group of Sabah Heritage Party (Warisan) campaigners were heading to Pulau Berhala on a police boat piloted by police personnel. This is an abuse of government machinery to campaign and should not have happened in New Malaysia and New Sabah.
What will happen if the boat is needed for rescue or safety purpose to safeguard the people in Sandakan waters? Many unexpected events might occur if police boats are used without clear justification, such as for election campaigns. Bersih 2.0 observer later found that the video was deleted from Jo Anna Rampas’ Instagram.
In addition, according to a new report from Sabah News Today portal titled ‘Teliti Status Kampung Forest, Jalan Buli Sim-Sim: Ketua Menteri’ (Chief Minister: Scrutinise the status of Kampung Forest, Jalan Buli Sim-Sim), the Sabah Chief Minister, Shafie Apdal has instructed the Minister of Housing and Local Government Jaujan Sambakong to check the land status of Kampung Forest and issue grant if eligible so that facilities can be provided for the village.
This instruction could be undue influence to the voters in Sandakan to vote for the party representing the state government of the day, that is DAP. Although we understand that Shafie Apdal’s role is to solve problems faced by the people, such as land, waste issues, etc, but questions must be raised as to why now and during the Sandakan by-election?
Therefore, Bersih 2.0 reminds all parties to campaign with ethics and do not abuse government resources for political purposes. Bersih 2.0 also reminds all parties to adhere to Article 3(3) and 4(1) of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) declaration on the use of government machinery for election activities. The declaration says:
“States should take necessary legislative steps and other measures, in accordance with their constitutional processes, to guarantee the rights and institutions framework for periodic and genuine, free and fair elections, in accordance with their obligations under international law. In particular, States should ensure the SEPARATION of party and State. “
Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee