MEDIA STATEMENT (25 MAY 2014)
BERSIH 2.0 abhors any actions taken by any parties which clearly flaunt the Election Laws. The offences that have been observed by BERSIH 2.0 includes:
1. “Don’t play play with me. I know who has voted and didn’t vote,” Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi warned volunteer corps RELA officers during a rally in Teluk Intan (24 May 2014)
Zahid has abused his position and threaten Rela volunteers. In his statement he had confirmed an alarming information that most of us fear may be happening, i.e., ballots are not secret. BERSIH 2.0 demands that the Najib government takes this seriously and end all violations of the sovereignty and privacy of the voters and their votes. Zahid has also violated the Election Offences Act, 1954 and this include exerting undue influence under Section 9 (1) which states:
9. (1) Every person who, before, during or after an election, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, … or prevents the free exercise of the franchise of any elector or voter, or thereby compels, induces, or prevails upon any elector or voter either to give or refrain from giving his vote at any election, or who directly or indirectly interferes or attempts to interfere with the free exercise by any person of any electoral right shall be guilty of the offence of undue influence.
2. Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran reported that BN distributed hampers worth about RM150 each to families at the Nova Scotia Estate in Teluk Intan. (23 May 2014) BN supporters’ actions violate two sections of the Election Offences Act (1954), Section 8 and Section 10, which state:
8. Every person who, corruptly, by himself or by any other person, either before, during or after an election, directly or indirectly gives or provides or causes to be given or provided, or is accessory to the giving or providing, or pays or engages to pay wholly or in part, the expense of giving or providing any food, drink, refreshment or provision, or any money or ticket or other means or device to enable the procuring of any food, drink, refreshment or provision, to or for any person for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or any other person to give or refrain from giving his vote at such election…
10. The following persons shall be deemed guilty of the offence of bribery:
(a) every person who, before, during or after an election, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, gives, lends, or agrees to give or lend, or offers, promises, or promises to procure or to endeavor to procure, any money or valuable consideration to or for any elector or voter, or to or for any person on behalf of any elector or voter or to or for any other person, in order to induce any elector or voter to vote or refrain from voting, or corruptly does any such act as aforesaid on account of such elector or voter having voted or refrained from voting at any election; …
Use of state machinery
BERSIH 2.0 is shocked with the EC statement made on BERNAMA, 20 May 2014, where it approved the use of Sekolah Kebangsaan Selabak as the site of a Barisan Nasional (BN) ceramah in conjunction with the Teluk Intan Parlimentary by-election and said that it was in accordance with the regulations set by the EC.
Rules and regulations seemed to be shifting goal posts and they are introduced at the whims and fancies of the EC. The EC has to substantiate its statement by showing which regulation in the election laws that permits the use of government-owned premises for election campaigning.
Another violation of election standards and ethics is by the Communications and Multimedia Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek who promised to upgrade broadband in Teluk Intan if the BN candidate wins the by-election. (23 May 2014)
The question is: Why now when there is a by-election? This has been a consistent action taken by the Najib administration, to promise development projects in return for votes for Barisan Nasional and they are timely announced during election periods.
This certainly goes against all standards and ethics of ensuring free and fair elections. State-owned premises, equipment, transport, or any properties or machineries cannot be used during campaign period by candidates especially when it is only offered to or utilised by only one particular political party. If EC had wanted to offer government-owned premises during campaign period it has to be offered to all and this must be made known to the public.
BERSIH 2.0 believes that basic standards of professional ethics and election law were flouted and it would appear to suggest that such flagrant flouting of the laws are acceptable by the EC, Ministers and BN supporters.
BERSIH 2.0 wants to remind the EC, Ministers, the Najib administration and all political parties that genuine democratic elections are an expression of the right of a citizen and it belongs to the Malaysian citizens. It is the duty of the government of the day to ensure that all citizens are able to have access to information through the electoral campaign on the policies and qualities of all political parties and candidates, without fear or favour, undue influence, bribery or treating, so that they can make informed choices and be able to vote freely. It is also the responsibility, duty and moral obligation of the government to ensure the maintenance of peace and stability, including ending sexism and political violence against candidates or any political party members.
Issued by: Maria Chin Abdullah (Chairperson)