Media statement by Johor DAP Chairman and MP for Kluang Liew Chin Tong on 21st February 2018 in Ayer Hitam, Johor
I am alerted by a viral Bahasa Malaysia post “Salah guna harta kerajaan, balai bomba jadi bilik gerakan MCA” that features the photo of Barisan Nasional’s Bilik Gerakan PDM Bandar Ayer Hitam Timor which is a building funded by the Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU) of the Prime Minister’s Department.
The structure in Kampung Baru Ayer Hitam was built in 2015 under the Federal Government’s “Program Mesra Rakyat” (People Friendly Programme) for the purpose of Voluntary Fire Brigade (Bomba Sukarelawan).
“Program Mesra Rakyat” is a dubious budgetary item in the Prime Minister’s Department which is allocated with RM 804 million in 2018 but its usages are hardly transparent. I call these funds a “slush fund” for the Prime Minister to maintain his grip over supporters and loyalists.
Since its completion, the said building in Ayer Hitam is also unashamedly being used as the local headquarters of Crisis Relief Squad of MCA (CRSM) which is an outright party outfit.
I value highly the contribution of Bomba Sukarelawan and support the construction of a local centre for the Voluntary Fire Brigade, although I believe it should funded by the relevant ministry, and not from a slush fund from the Prime Minister’s Department.
However, it is illegal and morally very wrong to use a government-funded building for political purpose such as being the MCA’s Crisis Relief Squad Centre. Worse still, it is now being used as an election campaign centre for Barisan Nasional.
I call on MCA Deputy President and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dr. Wee Ka Siong to explain to Malaysian taxpayers why his campaign centre is in a government-funded building. He must explain to the public whether this is a gross abuse of power and a breach of the Government’s own rules.
As a senior leader in Barisan Nasional, Wee should set the example of best electoral practices of not using government resources and facilities to campaign for his own re-election in Ayer Hitam.
Malaysian elections would only gain legitimacy and credibility if Barisan Nasional is prepared not to use government resources to campaign and ensure that there is a level playing field between the ruling party and the official Opposition, Pakatan Harapan.