Monday, July 1, 2013

EC in the line of fire again – for bonuses

Opposition members of parliament have questioned the rationale behind the RM200 million paid out in bonuses and allowances to Election Commission (EC) officials and workers who were on duty in May’s general election.

Leading the charge was Gombak MP Azmin Ali who said the EC did not deserve any bonus because they had failed to conduct free and fair elections.

"They failed in their duties. How can they be rewarded for that? They are spineless," said Azmin.

"It is disheartening for taxpayers to learn how their money is being spent."

However, Azmin agreed that the civil servants who had served in the GE had worked hard and lauded the Government for recognising their efforts.

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"But our main concern is the top brass of the EC."

Liew Chin Tong concurred, saying that chairman Abdul Aziz Mohamad Yusof and deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar should not be rewarded.

"They should be resigning in shame, not getting bonuses," the Kluang MP said. Padang Serai MP N. Surendran said the payout shows that there was an abuse of funds during the elections.

"It is an extremely large amount (referring to the RM200 million), also the RM7 million spent on the indelible ink,” he said.

"The Government has to answer and give clear a breakdown of how the funds were used. This is the people's money."

In a written reply handed out today, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said the RM400 million had been allocated to the EC to conduct the elections. Of that, RM200 million was spent on bonuses and allowances for those on duty during the elections.

The RM400 allocation was a 100 per cent increase on the budget of the previous general election. Describing the amount as alarming, Batu Gajah MP V. Sivakumar said he could not understand why the cost had gone up by 100 per cent when the number of voters had increased by only 20 per cent. - July 1, 2013.

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