Visits by Pakatan Harapan ministers to Cameron Highlands should not be misconstrued as political campaigning as they were just carrying out official duties, says Anthony Loke.
“What abuses? What sweeteners or promises did we give?
“It has nothing to do with the by-elections as my visit here had been pre-planned last October.
“We cannot stop our programmes just because of the by-elections,” the Transport Minister told reporters at a press conference here Tuesday (Jan 8).
Loke was asked to comment on electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 recent caution that it was principally wrong for ministers to be seen holding events in Cameron Highlands before the start of the by-election campaigning period.
Loke, who is DAP national organising secretary, said his visit on Monday (Jan 7) was to settle transportation issues faced by residents in Cameron Highlands and not to campaign.
“We did not promise them any new projects or entice them to support our candidate.
“I deliberately asked our candidate not to turn up during my visit and I did not even mention the by-election,” he said.
It was reported that among Pakatan leaders who had spotted recently at events in Cameron Highlands were Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran, Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waytha Moorthy, Loke and DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang.
On Nov 30, the Election Court declared Barisan Nasional’s win null and void after finding corrupt practices were committed to induce voters to vote.
The EC fixed nomination on Jan 12 and polling on Jan 26.
DAP’s M. Manogaran was up against MIC’s Datuk C. Sivarraajh in the 14th General Election in May last year, where he narrowly lost, garnering 9,710 votes to Sivarraajh’s 10,307.
On June 4, Manogaran filed a petition seeking a declaration that the outcome of GE14 for the Cameron Highlands Parliamentary seat won by Sivarraajh was null and void for flouting the General Elections Act 1954.
The Election Commission on Dec 28 confirmed that Sivarraajh was not qualified to contest in the by-election.
Last Friday (Jan 4), Pakatan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that Manogaran as the candidate for the seat.
On Sunday (Jan 6), MyPPP president Tan Sri M Kayveas announced that he plans to stand as a candidate for the seat to “create more excitement”.