Press Statement, 22 July 2013
RM 19K Per Vote in Kuala Besut
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (BERSIH 2.0) condemns the rampant vote-fishing with public funds by Federal and State Governments in the Kuala Besut by-election, which went up to more than RM19,000 per voter by the 10th day of the campaign period.
Up to last Saturday, as compiled by PAS from media reports, financial promises and allocations by federal and state agencies for the Kuala Besut area have totaled at least RM337,490,750. The agencies involved include the Prime Minister’s Department, Education Ministry, Agriculture Ministry, Terengganu State Government, and the Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad (SPNB).
Divided among the 17,679 registered voters, this means a vote in Kuala Besut is worth an unprecedented RM19,089.92 so far, provided that all the election promises are fulfilled. With three days of campaigning remaining, this figure will surely soar to new heights in Malaysia’s election history.
BERSIH 2.0 questions why marginalised communities must depend on promises during elections and by-elections to get the infrastructural development they are entitled to. The corrupt practice of vote-fishing by abusing public funds not only violates the level playing field in election, but it also implies ad-hoc development planning driven by political expediency, hence at the expense of other constituencies.
BERSIH 2.0 calls upon the Kuala Besut voters to vote free from corrupt practices. Citizens are entitled to development funds as of right and this does not absolve those who give it to buy votes, of violating the law.
Voters must also be warned that anyone committing an election offence of bribery, treating (including those who vote for a certain party because of bribery or treating), undue influence or impersonation is liable to a jail term up to two years and/or a fine up to RM 2000 ringgit upon conviction.
Considering the significance of the by-election, BERSIH 2.0 further urges all Kuala Besut voters residing or working elsewhere to return to their constituency to vote, to prevent phantom voters from impersonating them and voting on their behalf.
BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee
Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0)
The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0 comprises:
Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan (Co-Chairperson), Datuk A. Samad Said (Co-Chairperson), Ahmad Shukri Abdul Razab, Andrew Ambrose, Andrew Khoo, Anne Lasimbang, Arul Prakkash, Arumugam K., Awang Abdillah, Dr Farouk Musa, Liau Kok Fah, Maria Chin Abdullah, Matthew Vincent, Niloh Ason, Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh and Zaid Kamaruddin.