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Bersih slams Warisan for alleged use of police boat for island visit

Published:  |  Modified:

SANDAKAN POLLS | Bersih has taken Warisan to task for its alleged use of government resources to ferry party members to Pulau Berhala for campaigning purposes.

The electoral watchdog alleged that the campaigners of Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal’s party were taken to the island off the western coast of Sandakan on a police boat, driven by a police officer.

This was shown in a video purportedly uploaded by the chief minister’s political secretary Jo-Anna Sue Henley Rampas on her Instagram account.

Bersih, however, claimed the video has since been deleted. Malaysiakini is contacting Rampas, who is also Parti Warisan Sabah Wirawati deputy chief, for a response.

In a statement this morning, Bersih stated that the use of police resources was a clear misuse of government machinery for campaign purposes and “should not happen in New Malaysia and New Sabah”.

The area being visited falls within the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone), and under the purview of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom).

“What would happen if the boat is needed for a rescue operation or security to defend the Sabah waters? Many unforeseen incidents could have taken place if police boats are used without any clear justification, such as in the election campaign,” Bersih’s statement said.

It also chastised the actions of Shafie, who, according to a Sabah news portal, has instructed state Local Government and Housing Minister Jaujan Sambakong to inspect the village land status of Kampung Forest at Jalan Buli Sim-Sim to enable the state government to provide better facilities to the villagers in the near future.

Such a directive, the watchdog said, would give “undue influence” to Sandakan residents to vote for DAP in tomorrow’s parliamentary by-election.

Read more: The invisible people of Pulau Berhala

Warisan, which administers Sabah, is an ally of the Pakatan Harapan federal government, of which DAP is a component party. DAP is fielding Vivian Wong, youngest daughter of late Sandakan MP Stephen Wong, as its candidate.

“Even though we understand Shafie’s role necessitates him going to the ground and solving problems of the people, such as land issues, wastes and others, many questions can be raised such as why (issue such directives) now, and during the ongoing Sandakan by-election?”

As such, Bersih said it “did not wish” to remind all parties to adhere to clean and fair election etiquette, including not abusing government resources for political purposes.

Malaysiakini is contacting the Chief Minister's Office for a response.

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