Rethink curbs on ministers campaigning during work hours, Dr M urges EC

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad urges the EC to rethink its ‘unfair’ directive barring barring ministers and politicians with government posts from election campaigns during office hours. ― Bernama pic
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad urges the EC to rethink its ‘unfair’ directive barring barring ministers and politicians with government posts from election campaigns during office hours. ― Bernama pic

PUTRAJAYA, May 14 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will ask the Election Commission (EC) to reconsider its “unfair” directive barring ministers and politicians with government posts from election campaigns during office hours.

In a press conference today, the prime minister argued that such officeholders typically work beyond nine-to-five hours daily.

He further contended that the Opposition faced no such restrictions, which disadvantaged the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition.

“Well, the EC drew up these conditions and we find it is grossly unfair to the government. Therefore, we are going to ask the EC to reconsider their condition against government officials from campaigning.

“During the by-elections, we had directives that ministers cannot campaign during working hours. Ministers tend to work late hours, even up to 10pm at night.

“This restriction can give an advantage to the Opposition because they don't have any work. They campaign because they want to get a job,” said Dr Mahathir.

Another condition imposed by the EC is that government assets are not allowed to be used for campaigning.

Dr Mahathir recalled his time during the Cameron Highlands by-election where he had to charter a private helicopter to visit the campaign plus arrange for a personal driver and vehicle to join in the efforts.

“This is an extraordinary restriction because we work beyond office hours. 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 joked.

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

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