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Bersih agrees with EC on ministers using official car on campaign trail

Published:  |  Modified:

Electoral reform coalition Bersih today said it shares the same position as the Election Commission that cabinet members are allowed to use their official cars and security detail while on the campaign trail.

Bersih chairperson Thomas Fann said the coalition concurred with EC chairperson Azhar Azizan Harun that this allowance is conditional on what has been provided for under the minister's term of appointment.

"Bersih 2.0 shares the same position as EC on the use of official cars and security detail for cabinet members.

"If it is stated in their terms of appointment as ministers they could use the vehicles, driver and bodyguards to attend private or party functions, then it would not be an abuse of government resources for them to travel to campaign constituencies," said Fann in a statement today.

"But if they use other government resources like trucks, generators, tents and staff, then it would be an abuse of power," he stressed.

Malay daily Berita Harian last night quoted Azhar as saying the EC has no objections against the use of certain government assets for security reasons.

"The EC's stand, in this case, is that we have never stopped any cabinet members from using their 'security detail' which has been provided for their safety.

"On the use of official cars and a driver, as what has been previously stated, it is conditional on the regulations set on the use of the assets," Azhar (photo, above) reportedly said.

Commenting further, Fann said Bersih similarly recognised that a minister's official vehicle is more than just a mode of transportation, but also for their security.

"Their safety and security should never be compromised under any circumstances," he said.

Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad had previously suggested that the EC provided some leeway for party leaders with ministerial positions to use their official cars and security detail while on a campaign trail.

This comes after Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq claimed to have suffered abuse and threatened by controversial blogger Papagomo during nominations for the Semenyih by-election on Saturday.

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