KUALA LUMPUR: Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub (pic) has defended his decision to announce a RM14mil allocation to upgrade three fishing jetties in Tanjung Piai, saying he is not "allergic" to the by-election.
"If I want to announce it tomorrow, what is wrong with that? If I want to announce it yesterday, it is also not wrong.
"As a minister, I can make such announcements that I think will make the rakyat happy," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby on Monday (Oct 22).
He was asked to explain his decision on why he made the announcement so close to the Tanjung Piai by-election, when the allocation would only be received next year.
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had taken the Pakatan government to task for announcing federal projects and allocations close to the by-election.
"What if the fishermen fall down from the dilapidated jetties?
"The allocation has been approved, so I announced it. Why should I wait, or be 'allergic' of a by-election and become scared to make such announcements.
"It is the job of the minister to make announcements based on guaranteed allocations and revenues, as well as policies.
"I will do it all the time and not wait for certain times," added Salahuddin.
He reiterated that he was merely implementing the project pledged by Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik when he was the Tanjung Piai MP, as well as Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
"So, what we are doing now is just part of the process as a leader, minister or deputy minister.
"Maybe Najib is just learning the ropes at being the opposition. Perhaps he suddenly is passionate in championing the rakyat's issues," Salahuddin added.
The Election Commission has set Nov 2 as the nomination day and Nov 16 as the polling day for the parliamentary by-election.
The by-election was triggered after Dr Farid, 42, died of heart complications on Sept 21.
At a separate press conference, Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa quipped that he was happy that Pakatan leaders are making such announcements, saying that Pakatan is now turning "into BN 1.0."
"They are going back to the old practices that even Barisan had abandoned. Pakatan is slowly turning into the 'old Barisan'," said the Ketereh MP.