Tuesday, July 14

Why need work permits to become volunteers?

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SIBU: State DAP vice-chairman David Wong has described as going against the principle of a clean election the PBB’s proposal to the Election Commission that all volunteers coming as observers or polling agents in the coming election must have work permits.

He urged Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem to stop the proposal to ensure that the coming election was free and fair.

“The volunteers will make sure a free and fair election and I don’t see any wrong with that,” he told a press conference here yesterday morning.

With him were Sibu MP Oscar Ling, Lanang MP Alice Lau and DAP State Wanita chief Irene Chang.

Wong pointed out the difference between issuing work permits to those seeking employment and those volunteering to work as political observers.

He said it was obvious that those seeking employment had to get a work permit but not those coming to work as volunteers.

“This is two totally different things and hopefully, our chief minister can see the difference.”

Wong expressed doubts as to why PBB would propose such a move unless there was something the state BN government wanted to hide.

“Since the chief minister has projected himself to be a clean leader, it’s only fair that he steps in, stops this proposal and ensures that the coming election is free and fair.”

Wong said if the proposal was approved, it might set a precedence; that if disaster struck, then all the people coming to work as volunteers must apply for work permits.

“That obviously doesn’t make sense,” he added.

Wong said it was easy for the BN government to stop these volunteers from coming as they had enough assisting manpower during the election.

“But we the opposition parties need the volunteers to help us do the necessary work.”

On another matter, Wong refused to comment on the statement made by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed whether he (Dr Mahathir) would take his fight to remove Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as prime minister to Sarawak.

Dr Mahathir was reportedly quoted as saying what the Sarawakians did was their business.

Wong, nevertheless, expressed disappointment as to why there was not a single Sarawakian or Sabahan participating in the ‘citizens’ declaration’ that had 58 signatories, comprising Barisan Nasional (BN) veterans, opposition politicians and civil society leaders.

To accomplish its mission, there was a need for the people of Sarawak and Sabah to participate, he said.