EC Chairman: "Politicians Who Campaign During Work Hours Are Abusing Power"

He also called for a stop to unfair and unethical campaigning activities.

Yesterday, 7 October, Election Commission (EC) chairman Azhar Azizan Harun released a statement calling for a "fair and equal" campaign for all parties

EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun.

Image via Lim Huey Teng/Malaysiakini

The media statement was released in response to recent developments in the Port Dickson by-election campaign.

"The EC is of the opinion that it is the responsibility of every candidate and party they represent to ensure that not only are the letters of the laws adhered to and not violated, but the principles and spirit of democracy are followed and practiced at all times," the statement read.

"This means that any unethical or unfair campaigning activity should be discontinued immediately, even if the activities are within the sphere of the actual allocation of existing laws."

The statement also called out politicians who were campaigning for their party candidate during working hours

"The EC acknowledges that Cabinet members and politicians who hold government positions (except for civil servants) have the right to campaign for a candidate, as it is a party activity," the statement read.

However, these campaigning parties "should not and should never use government assets or facilities" for campaigning purposes.

These parties were also reminded to not carry out campaigning activities during working hours as it is an abuse of working hours. 

"They (Cabinet members) should be aware of the difference between their tasks as members of the government administration and party leader or member."

The EC also said there is a fine line between promising development for the people and corruption

A development project that is launched for the sole purpose of fishing for votes may be considered as an election offence, which could then become a reason to invalidate the election in any election petition that might be filed.

"The lines between promises bring progress to the people in the constituencies and corrupt practices are really thin and need to be monitored," the statement read.

The upcoming Port Dickson by-election was triggered when army veteran Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah vacated his seat:

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