TANJUNG PIAI, Oct 6 — Malaysian United Democratic Alliance’s (Muda) Tanjung Piai parliamentary candidate Lim Wei Jiet urged the Election Commission (EC) to take action after allegations of vote buying via projects, allegedly to secure votes in conjunction with the 15th general election (GE15).

He claimed that the Barisan Nasional (BN)-led state government had deliberately announced several allocations worth RM4.6 million during the GE15 period in the Tanjung Piai parliamentary seat, as reported by a local English daily.

“The announcement was recently made by Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi in the presence of Tanjung Piai BN candidate Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng where the allocation includes RM4 million for the development of a food court, the construction of a community hall and an allocation of RM600,000.00 for six Chinese villages.

“I strongly condemn this kind of ‘election candy’ that was deliberately announced while the GE15 campaign is taking place. This has indeed become a BN habit, which sometimes hides behind the state government,” said Lim in a press conference at the Tanjung Piai Muda operations room in Pekan Nenas here today.

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He is believed to be the first GE15 candidate to allege that BN is using its advantage to fish for votes in Tanjung Piai using a state government spending programme for vote-buying.

Lim, a lawyer by profession and Muda co-founder, said such practices cannot be ignored as it involves the integrity and transparency of the candidates.

He said it is wrong even if it is someone else other than the candidate who announces the allocation on the pretext of canvassing for votes.

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Lim claimed that the presence of other BN candidates during the announcement showed that they supported such practice.

He said it is well-known that BN is aware and partakes in such vote-buying practices during a general election campaign period.

“I urge the EC to take strict action against BN candidates who have blatantly violated the election rules,” said the former Johor state election candidate in Tenang.

Announcements of projects and allocations to allegedly secure votes is bot a new issue in Malaysian politics.

Other than BN, other political parties who are in power are also known to practice patronage politics as a populist campaign strategy.

In the run-up to the Tanjung Piai by-election in 2019, several Pakatan Harapan (PH) ministers were also criticised for announcing government projects and allocations for the constituency. The PH coalition was then part of the federal government before its collapse after the Sheraton Move in 2020.