NIBONG TEBAL, June 25 ― It is not an offence for ministers or ministries to organise programmes or announce allocations during by-elections, Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan said.

He said such matters have been brought to court before but decisions have never sided with the Opposition parties that raised the issue.

“The courts decided then that they (the ministers) were there based on their government leadership positions to meet the people and coincidentally there was a by-election. So it’s not an offence.

“I am here (Sungai Bakap) tonight as an Umno supreme council member to give a talk, so are the rest of my friends, including Fadhlina Sidek, who is Education Minister, and also the MP here (Nibong Tebal),” he told reporters after attending a political talk in Kampung Makau Suah here last night.

He was commenting on a statement by an Opposition MP carried on a news portal yesterday alleging that many ministers showed up under the cover of government organised programmes in Sungai Bakap and not as part of party activities or for Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate Joohari Ariffin.

Rantau Panjang MP Datuk Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff had claimed that it was something voters had voiced out to her as there were many programmes being organised in Sungai Bakap that involved the government and its ministers.

Joohari will take on Nibong Tebal PAS deputy chief Abidin Ismail, who is Perikatan Nasional (PN) candidate in a straight fight for the Sungai Bakap seat on July 6, following the death of Sungai Bakap assemblyman Nor Zamri Latiff on May 24 due to stomach inflammation.

Ahmad Maslan, who is also Public Works Minister, also expressed hope that the number of party machineries, whether from Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN), would continue to increase and their efforts strengthened in ensuring victory for the PH candidate.

“As war room chief recently appointed by Umno Supreme Council, I feel that priority should be on house-to-house efforts to explain current issues.

“This includes the diesel subsidy rationalisation and the water supply problem as they are the main issues here and require comments from time to time,” he added. ― Bernama