Gifts to constituents in S'gor approved by state assembly: Azmin

SHAH ALAM: Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali has defended his action to give out gifts to his constituents in Gombak and Bukit Antarabangsa over the weekend, saying they have been approved beforehand by the state assembly.

The caretaker Selangor Mentri Besar said unlike the recent handouts given out by Barisan Nasional (BN) that was not tabled in parliament and Cabinet, the Selangor state government's handouts were done in a transparent manner.

"What differentiates the two is we do it openly and transparently, and they were all passed in the state assembly last year. They have all been budgeted, with special allocations for certain groups and items.

"But what BN did, giving out goodies to taxi drivers and increasing the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) for instance, who passed them? Parliament did not, and neither did the Cabinet.

"Those are the issues that need mentioning," he told reporters after giving out financial aids to vernacular and convent schools in Selangor, here, today.

Azmin was responding to rebukes from several quarters, including Bersih 2.0, who criticised the PKR deputy president for presenting goodies, including cash, laptops and iPads amounting to over RM2.2 million, to potential voters so close to the elections.

"Like these financial aids for Chinese and Tamil schools, we do it every year. For 2018, we even presented in our budget, and it was passed," he said.

Earlier in his speech, Azmin said policies and programmes done by the state government were not seasonal to fish for votes in the elections, pointing out that assistance for vernacular schools has been ongoing since 2009.

He pointed out that Selangor, among other things, has recognised the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) since he was made MB in 2016.

"Unfortunately, the federal government has failed to give a positive commitment to this. Instead, they only make sweet promises to win Chinese votes.

"But even when they announced their manifesto recently, they only stated that citizens with foreign certificates would be given consideration. They are only considering it now when we have long recognised it," he said.

On Supermax Corp Bhd group managing director Datuk Seri Stanley Thai's regret for campaigning for the opposition in the 13th General Election, Azmin said: "Why only now, and not last year? This is all a political gimmick, and it's very unfortunate that corporate people are being pressured to say this."

Thai, on Saturday, apologised to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak saying he was influenced by the opposition's propaganda in the previous elections, and realised that it was wrong for him to be involved in politics.