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Putrajaya voters fear return of court cluster govt after election

They say they do not want civil servants to be associated with corruption cases.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
3 minute read
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Civil servants on their lunch break browse the stalls set up beside the road near the government complex building in Putrajaya.
Civil servants on their lunch break browse the stalls set up beside the road near the government complex building in Putrajaya.

With less than a week to go before election day on Nov 19, some voters in Putrajaya are worried about what will happen if the government to come is led by a coalition comprising leaders from the court cluster. 

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, the voters in what is known as the city of civil servants said they were tired of being the victims of greedy leaders who misappropriate public funds, as had happened in the 1MDB case involving former prime minister Najib Razak. 

Najib, whose conviction and sentence were upheld this year after a lengthy court battle, is currently serving a 12-year jail term at Kajang Prison.

A government employee, met in the grounds outside a ministry building, told of how he had been called in to give his statement on the abuse of power by top leaders. 

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he also recalled a superior officer who had to attend court as a witness in the trial of a particular court cluster leader. 

"I was only called in once for questioning by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, and I gave them all the documents they needed," he said. 

"But my superior officer had to go back and forth from court and his picture was featured in the papers and on social media. It was as if we were the ones who had done wrong, even though we are only civil servants.

"I beg the voters of Putrajaya, don't let history repeat itself. We cannot be made victims once again." 

A number of high-ranking officials and government employees, especially from the finance ministry, were previously summoned to the Kuala Lumpur High Court for Najib's trial on charges of wrongdoing involving RM2.28 billion in funds from state investment arm 1MDB. 

More than 40 witnesses in all were called to testify in the trial. 

Campaigning

A total of six candidates are competing for support in Putrajaya: its incumbent from Barisan Nasional, Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor; Radzi Jidin of Perikatan Nasional; Pakatan Harapan's Noraishah Mydin Abdul Aziz; Pejuang man Mohd Rosli Ramli; and independents Samsudin Mohamad Fauzi and Lim Fice Bee.

While election campaigns normally see candidates addressing the crowds in public spaces such as markets, coffee shops, shopping centres and housing areas, in Putrajaya, contestants appear to be taking a different approach. 

Most of the campaigning takes place during office hours, with candidates meeting with voters at government complexes or at local community centres.

When met at a market bazaar near the communications and multimedia ministry, a group of voters in their early 30s said the factors for choosing a candidate were no longer the same as they had been at the 2018 general election. 

Previously, they said, they had gone by party manifestos in deciding which candidate to support. 

Now, they are more inclined to choose based on the prime minister candidate put forth by each coalition. 

"Talk is rife that voting for Ku Nan is like voting for Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to become prime minister," they said, referring to Putrajaya incumbent Tengku Adnan. 

"We are afraid that these rumours might be true." 

For them, the priority is ensuring that the name of civil servants is no longer associated with corruption cases. 

But if Pakatan Harapan wins, they are also afraid that government servants will be sacked – a reference to the recent claim by Bersatu Supreme Council member Mohamed Azmin Ali that PH had wanted to change the secretary-generals of at least eight ministries during its tenure in Putrajaya. 

"We want a government that protects its employees instead of just fighting all the time." 

More than 42,000 voters in Putrajaya are expected to cast their ballots on Nov 19 – nearly double the 23,000 registered to vote in the 2018 polls.

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