Assemblyman called out by Bersih Sarawak for JKKK statement

Ann Teo

KUCHING, Oct 12:  Bersih Sarawak is appalled by the comments of Tasik Biru assemblyman  Datuk Henry Harry Jinep insisting that members of the Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Kampung (JKKK) must vote for Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) in the coming elections.

Vice President of Bersih Sarawak Ann Teo said Harry had made the statement at an appointment ceremony of JKKK Secretaries in Bau District where the latter pointed out that since the members of JKKK are given a monthly allowance of RM300, they must quit from the post if they do not vote for GPS.

“This impinges on the democratic right of everyone to vote for the candidate or party of their choice regardless whether the voter is a civil servant or one who receives an allowance from the government of the day for the performance of duties.

“If such a call were to be made during an election, it could be construed as a violation of Section 9 of the Election Offences Act which stipulates that anyone who makes use of any force to induce or compel another to vote for a certain party or who directly or indirectly interferes with the free exercise of the electoral right of a person may be guilty of undue influence which is a punishable offence.

“Has the YB forgotten that the state government uses public taxes and oil funds from state coffers to pay the JKKK?”said Teo in a statement today.

She stressed that public resources do not belong to the various political parties that now form the GPS government in Sarawak.

To her, while State civil servants and likewise JKKK members may be paid by the government of the day, nonetheless they are there to serve the public or community interests and the rakyat’s welfare.

“They are not employed to vote for the ruling parties. This call for the JKKK secretaries to vote GPS thus smacks of the politics of patronage and reinforces a subservient mentality expected of the members of the JKKK to the ruling party or parties.

“Such values and attitudes have no place in a progressive Sarawak especially if it claims to be a mature government ready to take on the responsibilities of a democratic state,” said Teo. — DayakDaily