Dr M to EC: Unfair to stop ministers campaigning during working hours

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 14 May 2019

PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission (EC) should reconsider the prohibition against ministers and politicians with government posts campaigning during working hours, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"The EC drew up these conditions, and we find it grossly unfair to the government.

"Therefore we are going to ask the  EC to reconsider their condition against government officers from campaigning (during working hours)," the Prime Minister told reporters after chairing a special Cabinet committee on anti-corruption here on Tuesday (May 14).

He said ministers usually worked beyond the normal office hours while the Opposition faced no such restriction.

"We found that there are conditions where government officers cannot campaign during working hours.

"During working hours, the ministers are at the office, sometimes until 10pm, so they cannot campaign.

"The restriction is as if it's giving a chance to the Opposition parties, that have no work and want the job. They can campaign 24 hours but the ministers can't do the same.

"I think such restriction should not be practised," added Dr Mahathir.

He said he had to charter a private helicopter during one of his visits to Cameron Highland during the recent by-election.

"I was also forced to use my personal car from the airport to the campaigning area.

"I've asked for overtime but they won't give me. Being a prime minister is not profitable.

"You can't be on the board of any companies. Last time, I would get allowance but now I'm not receiving anything,” he quipped.

The EC previously told ministers not to campaign during their official work hours to minimise allegations that government resources were being abused during campaigning.

The commission also imposed a restriction on government machinery or assets being used during the campaigning period.

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