25 August 2008
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) demands that the police immediately initiates investigation against the Barisan Nasional candidate in Permatang Pauh by-election, Arif Shah Omar Shah for breaking the Election Offences Act 1954 of making illegal employment by paying “intelligent fees” to voters. If convicted, Arif Shah shall be fined RM 5000 and disqualified from voting and being elected.
As reported by the Chinese language daily Sin Chew Jit Poh in its frontpage headline on August 22 2008, “Arif Shah: employ locals as campaign workers; BN PAYS “INTELLIGENT FESS” NOT BUYING VOTES”, Arif Shah Omar Shah has openly admitted that the Barisan Nasional has been giving away RM100 to RM500 for “a great number” of locals to function as “campaign workers” and “covert intelligent agents” but denied that this was not vote-buying.
BERSIH slams the BN candidate for lying as Section 21 of the Election Offences Act 1954 (“Certain Employment to be Illegal”) categorically prohibits employment of anyone “for the purpose of promoting or procuring the election of a candidate at any election” except one election agent, one polling agent per polling station and “a reasonable number of clerks and messengers having regard to the area of the constituency” and “the number of electors on the register or list of electors for such constituency”.
Given his own admission of the illegal practice, the police must immediately investigate the illegal employment. If convicted, under Section 27 of the same Act, Arif Shah will be fine RM 5000 and “become incapable of being registered or listed as an elector or of voting at any election under this Act or of being elected at any election, and if at that date he has been elected at any election, his seat shall be vacated from the date of such conviction”.As the candidate’s qualification is now in question, the police must act swiftly to enable the voters of Permatang Pauh to form their informed decision.
BERSIH also calls upon the Anti-Corruption Agency to investigate if such illegal employments, which may incur great expense, is funded by any illegal means.
BERSIH: Arif Shah breaks law by employing "intelligent agents"