Dr M defends allocations for Tanjung Piai, says it is a ‘coincidence’

(The Star) – Amid the run-up to the Tanjung Piai by-election, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has defended the announcement of several projects in the constituency, saying it is a “coincidence”.

“… we fulfilled our usual duties and allocations were made. But the allocations came as a coincidence that there was a by-election there,” he said.

Dr Mahathir was speaking to reporters during a press conference at the Parliament lobby on Tuesday (Oct 22).

Quizzed on why the Government did not wait till the conclusion of the Nov 16 Tanjung Piai polls to announce the projects, Dr Mahathir said that the allocations had already been planned before the by-election.

“It isn’t good if we offer assistance during campaigns. But usually, such plans are already in the works.

“But if we can, we shouldn’t use these plans as bait to woo support,” he said.

Pakatan Harapan has been slammed by the Opposition and electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 for abusing the government machinery and announcing projects worth some RM7.3mil in less than a week at the Tanjung Piai Parliamentary constituency.

Last week, Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun announced the installation of 264 street lamps in the rural areas of Tanjung Piai for RM127,776 and grants worth RM230,000 for village chiefs.

Last Saturday, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman announced the allocation of RM4mil to upgrade six futsal courts and one football field in the same parliamentary constituency.

On Oct 21, Agriculture and Agro-based Minister Salahuddin Ayub also announced an allocation of RM3mil to upgrade jetties in Tanjung Piai.

The Election Commission has set Nov 2 as the nomination day and Nov 16 as the polling day for the Parliamentary by-election.

The Tanjung Piai seat fell vacant after the death of its MP Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik from complications following a heart attack.

In the 14th General Election, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s Dr Farid had defeated MCA’s Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng and PAS’ Nordin Othman.