Media Release: Stop Using Government Funds for Partisan Gain!

Stop Using Government Funds for Partisan Gain!


07 May 2018 Media Release

The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center) is appalled at the blatant and continued misuse of government monies to entice voters by member of the caretaker government in the remaining campaign period before the polling day.

 

We refer to the announcement of replanting incentive payment of RM4,000 each (totalling RM1,060,000) to 265 settlers from Felda Palong Timur Dua and Felda Palong Timur Tiga in Johor made by Segamat parliamentary seat incumbent Dr S Subramaniam who is also caretaker health minister last night.

 

Subramaniam who is running for the Segamat parliamentary seat in this election said that he contacted Najib Razak himself, caretaker prime minister and caretaker minister in charge of Felda on the approval of the replantingincentive payment. Subramaniam added that Najib Razak gave his nod for the incentive payment to be disbursed starting from today and to be completed before the polling day on Wednesday.

 

Federal land development authority (Felda) was established in 1956 to eradicate rampant poverty through a land development and agricultural programme. Felda came under fire last year due to numerous corporate scandals that caused losses in millions of ringgits, corruption probes and criminal investigation that remain uncompleted until today. Najib Razak had been the minister in charge of Felda since 2004. In the previous elections, Felda voters were lauded as a strong supporter of the incumbent government. Their votes are regarded as ‘an important force’ to counter Barisan Nasional’s diminishing support in urban area.

 

In April this year, C4 Center released a report that highlighted series of malfeasance and poor governance in Felda and chronicled the culture of money politic that has plagued Felda since the last decade. C4 Center is deeply concern that this newly announced incentive would further complicate the matter and add to the long-list of scandals involving Felda.

 

In July 2017, the Barisan Nasional government had already announced 6 incentives for the Felda settlers nationwide totalling RM1.6 billion that includes RM5,000 cash reward, replanting debt disposal incentive and special replanting grant.

 

This RM4,000 replanting incentive payment that is exclusive for 265 settlers from Felda Palong Timur and the speedy manner the incentive would be paid to the settlers before the polling day is clearly a vote-buying attempt. It amounts to a violation of the caretaker government’s duty, and a bribery under the Election Offences Act 1954.

 

C4 Center strongly demands that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to promptly act to stop the caretaker government from continue abusing government funds for partisan gain during this electoral period. The MACC is established and empowered under the anti-corruption law to combat corrupt practices and abuse of power – its mandate extends to corrupt practices during electoral period.

 

We wish to reiterate our call for all relevant public institutions, principally the MACC, to act independently to combat corrupt practices at elections to uphold electoral fairness and integrity.

 

The Online copy of C4 Center’s report on Felda is accessible here at: https://c4center.org/felda-diperah-felda-crisis-downloads.

 

 

Released by:

Cynthia Gabriel

Executive Director, C4 Center