Umno exceeded election spending limit: Guan Eng

The Star: 12 Aug 2008
GEORGE TOWN: The sum of RM218mil that a High Court has ordered Umno to pay for 2004 general election campaign materials exceeds the 2004 general election spending limit, said DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.
He said in a press statement here Tuesday the Kuala Lumpur High Court judgment meant that the party had exceeded the spending limit of RM94.3mil at the maximum of RM200,000 per parliamentary constituency and RM100,000 per state constituency.
It was reported Tuesday that a High Court deputy registrar had ordered Umno to pay the sum to supplier Elegant Advisory Sdn Bhd for printed materials, transportation and mineral water used by the party in the 2004 general election.
Lim said that under Section 19 of the Election Offences Act 1954, a candidate could not spend more than RM200,000 and RM100,000 respectively for a parliamentary and state constituency.
“Umno had claimed that the campaign materials were for Barisan Nasional and had nothing to do with Umno. With 219 parliamentary seats and 505 state seats contested in the 2004 general elections, this means that a party like Barisan that contested all seats cannot spend more than RM94.3mil or else Barisan’s victories are illegal.
“With RM218mil spent whether by Barisan or Umno on campaign materials alone, this is more than double the legally permitted amount,” said Lim.
He said that spending above the limits imposed by the Elections Offences Act 1954 was an illegal practice under Section 27, and subject to a fine of RM5,000 by the Sessions Court, disqualification as a wakil rakyat and removal of rights as a voter.
“However, such laws are marked more by its breach than its compliance,” he added.
Lim said this might now be an academic question since the 2004 general election had been superseded by the 2008 general election.
“The Election Commission’s failure to act and question the legality of the 2004 general election victories by the Barisan government not only makes a mockery of the very election laws it has drafted but also the spirit of democracy that votes should not be bought and sold,” he said.