Why Rais Yatim shouldn’t drive the Information Department vans around the bend

by Dr Mustafa K Anuar
Honorary Secretary, Aliran
| 10 April 2013

Aliran roundly condemns Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim’s recent indefensible justification for the Barisan Nasional’s blatant use of government machinery for its election campaigning in the run-up to the general election.

What was done had nothing to do with the functions of the caretaker government. The three Information Department vans were there to assist the BN coalition to prepare for the opening of the BN’s election command centre for the Batu parliamentary constituency on Sunday. Government machinery was definitely used for party purposes.

It is crucial that all parties concerned must acknowledge and respect the demarcation line between party and government use to prevent abuse of power and to ensure a level playing field between the incumbent coalition and its contenders.

Surely, it doesn’t take a legally trained person to realise that it is immoral for a caretaker government to take undue advantage of its incumbency in this callous manner.

The BN must emulate instead the fine and praiseworthy example shown by both the Selangor and Penang caretaker governments that recalled all official cars from their respective state executive councillors recently in keeping with ethical behaviour.

Similarly, it is politically indecent of the BN caretaker government to offer only a one-off 10-minute pre-recorded slot over Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) to the opposition coalition during the election campaign period. To ensure a level playing field, the opposition coalition deserves and must be given equal access to the broadcasting station, funded by taxpayers, who, in turn, deserve to know better the policies of the competing parties.

It is therefore understandable that the Opposition coalition had no option but to reject the pathetic offer by the BN government, an action which Rais considered an attempt to ‘mock’ RTM. He fails to realise that without doubt he is mocking the democratic process.

To be sure, the caretaker government’s misdemeanour in this matter is itself sufficient to mock the broadcasting station without the help of anyone outside of the ruling coalition.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 11 April 2013 - 8:45 am

    For the life of me, I can never figure out why Najib, who was going to make Public Relation central to his campaign strategy, kept this guy information minister and BN info chief for so long especially given he had Ahmad Maslan the info chief for UMNO.. He could not find anyone better to do ADVERTISING nationally for BN given his own love for it?

    Who ever heard of hiring aging PR executive who can’t keep it in his pants?

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Thursday, 11 April 2013 - 9:39 am

    Axe deadwood!

  3. #3 by chengho on Thursday, 11 April 2013 - 10:53 am

    Rais should retire

  4. #4 by SENGLANG on Thursday, 11 April 2013 - 11:19 am

    This piece of wood not only dead but was also infected with parasites that really need a full cleaning and detox.

  5. #5 by SENGLANG on Thursday, 11 April 2013 - 11:31 am

    The only use for these dead is simply use them as kayu api. Retire is not an option

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