MACC probes Hulu Selangor vote-buying claims

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani (Malaysian Insider)
The MACC will investigate if parties lodge complaints, said Abu Kassim. — Picture by Choo Choy May
KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — Chief graft-buster Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamed said today the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was currently investigating allegations of vote-buying in the recent Hulu Selangor by-election.
Both Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and Barisan Nasional (BN) have accused each other of bribing the voters there.
Abu Kassim explained that he was not in a position to say if the political parties were engaged in bribery.
“I am not here to interpret the law. Whoever complains about it, we will investigate. If any parties complain, then it’s our function and job under the law to look at it. If elements of corruption are there, then we will investigate,” he told reporters after handing the MACC’s inaugural annual report to the Parliamentary special committee on corruption.
PR has called the Sunday by-election the nation’s “dirtiest and [most] corrupt” to date.
Its candidate, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, blamed his defeat on what he termed BN’s vote-buying tactics, referring to the RM64 million that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration had spent in the form of donations, reimbursements, promises of future development and others.
Meanwhile, BN has also accused PR of the same offence.
BN secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor claimed that PR leaders paid off voters and handed out gifts in the election which they eventually lost by 1,725 votes.
Najib has acknowledged that his administration had approved millions of ringgit in projects for Hulu Selangor, but denied that it was meant to buy the votes which secured BN candidate P. Kamalanathan’s victory.
Abu Kassim also confirmed that MACC will be contesting an Ipoh High Court decision to drop corruption charges against Perak assemblymen, Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu.
“We will [an] appeal to the High court. The process hasn’t ended. Until we have exhausted all means, until the court decides at the highest level, only then the matter will be decided,” he added.
The two protagonists in the fall of the Pakatan Rakyat government in Perak last year were earlier charged with corruption involving a RM180 million housing development project in Seri Iskandar near Ipoh.