Planned pro-Anwar free banquet may be an election offence, Bersih warns

10-Oct-2018 Intellasia | Malay Mail | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Polls watchdog Bersih 2.0 has warned against a free Chinese banquet in support of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be held just two nights before Port Dickson voters go to the polls this weekend.

Contacted by the Let’s Talk show on Astro Awani last night, its executive director Yap Swee Seng said the dinner planned for up to 4,000 people may be an election offence for attempting to treat voters.

“We’re hearing there would be free dinner given It is clear in the Election Offences Act, Section 8, that treating is prohibited.

“Such a dinner should not happen, it may constitute an election offence,” Yap told the show’s host Sharaad Kuttan.

Section 8 of the Act defines “treating” as among others providing food, drink, refreshment or provision before, during, or after an election “for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or any other person to give or refrain from giving his vote.”

Yap, however, admitted that “treating” is a grey area, since it is difficult to prove that such an act contributed to a change of vote.

Last week, Lukut assemblyman Choo Ken Hwa was reported expressing his concern over the planned free dinner in his own constituency.

Malaysiakini reported Choo saying the dinner is organised by a group calling itself “Port Dickson voters group”, but he suspects that the group is made up of Anwar’s supporters from out of town.

On October 1, Persatuan Muafakat One Belt One Road Malaysia and two Chinese NGOs in Port Dickson held a dinner for Lukut voters. Sin Chew Daily reported that a donor from Hong Kong had paid for the dinner.

The October 1 dinner was referred to by independent candidate Stevie Chan in his police report yesterday which accused Pakatan Harapan candidate Anwar Ibrahim of bribery.

Yap also expressed his concern over the lack of separation between events held by political parties and the government, citing the recent medal award ceremony in a military camp where Anwar was a VIP guest.

The Election Commission (EC) had then proposed that the military camps be given equal access to all candidates subject to whatever security procedures of the camps, after the PAS candidate was denied entry although Anwar was allowed in.

Yap also stressed the importance of staying vigilant against such alleged offences and abuse committed by politicians, especially from Pakatan Harapan, after Bersih 2.0 was accused of nitpicking.

“I think these are not really small faults, it may involve government funds being abused, taxpayers’ money. Under this New Malaysia, we actually address this problem while still small and not widespread.

“In the end, it is the people who would suffer if we don’t address the issue now While the new government is still shaping the policies, it is important for people to keep check of the progress,” he said.

On Sunday, Anwar had warned the EC and Bersih 2.0 to not “abuse their power” and “be too much”, following criticism of his attendance at a free concert in Port Dickson organised among others by his fan club.


Category: Malaysia

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