BANGI, May 15 — Pakatan Harapan (PH) leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim does not see a necessity for ministers and politicians with government posts to be the ones actively campaigning whenever polls are called.
The PKR president said office-bearers who spend a lot of time on election campaigns would “also be bad” for the administration, though he agreed with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that there could be some leeway for top government leaders to join the campaign trail during office hours.
“There should be a process or procedure that could be deemed to be fair, but [if] you really open [it], then the ministers can just virtually spend all the time campaigning, which is also bad.
“If they want to do that, they should take leave. But if they do it as part of a programme, then probably it is acceptable,” said Anwar, who added that there should be further discussions with the Election Commission and stakeholders.
Anwar also stressed that any changes to the restriction must be made “very clear” to prevent possible misuse.
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.
Yesterday, Dr Mahathir said he will ask the EC to reconsider its “unfair” directive barring ministers and government officials, who are politicians, from election campaigns during office hours.
He asserted that such officeholders typically work beyond nine-to-five daily and said the Opposition faced no such restriction, which disadvantaged the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition.