GE15: Sarawak cannot provide airfare subsidy for students due to it being election offence

Fadillah photographed during the PBB Petra Jaya Branch meeting on Oct 21, 2022.

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By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Oct 21: The Sarawak government cannot pursue providing airfare subsidies for Sarawakian students to return to vote as it is regarded as an election offence.

Caretaker Senior Minister of Works Dato Sri Fadillah Yusof said if the government proceeds with the students’ request, it could be an issue by law.

“From the law’s perspective, there will be a problem to implement (airfare subsidies) unless there are others (non-governmental organisations) who want to sponsor, that is up to them.

“Like what I have seen from a social media post, a Methodist Church wants to encourage worshippers to come back so they offer airfares and so on.

“I do not know if providing an airfare subsidy for polls is allowed or not but there are certain quarters who have started to publicise assisting Sarawakian students to return and so on.

“However, I do not know if there is a politician behind the play, I do not know,” he said when met by reporters after chairing a Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Petra Jaya Branch meeting held at PBB headquarters here today.

On Oct 15, Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg during a town hall session at Lan Berambeh Anak Sarawak 2022 in Kuala Lumpur, said the Sarawak government will look into the feasibility of providing assistance to allow Sarawakian youths studying in Peninsular Malaysia to return to vote in 15th General Election (GE15).

Three days later, Abang Johari clarified that GPS will need to take an in-depth look at compliance with electoral regulations and laws to determine whether it can provide assistance to bring Sarawakian youth back to vote.

Fadillah, who is also Petra Jaya incumbent, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) Whip chief and PBB senior vice president further commended Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAS) for offering discounted fares to help voters travel during the GE15 period.

“I hope more airlines, if can, will give cheaper fares to those who travel to vote,” he added.

He also seconded Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah’s recent call for politicians to not use sensitive issues as political tools, such as race and religion ahead of GE15.

“Let us campaign based on the party’s policies that can bring good to Sarawak and Malaysia, not towards individual attacks or any matters that can cause trouble in terms of social structure of the community,” he emphasised. — DayakDaily