Media Statement (January 26th, 2019): Candidate Manogaran Should Know Better

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) refers to media reports today that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate M. Manogaran was escorted out of the SK Senderut polling station by SPR election officers for wearing a shirt with the PH logo. While we noted Manogaran’s apology, we still find the excuse given by Manogaran, a seasoned election campaigner and lawyer himself, that it was early in the morning and he was in a rush, rather flimsy.

This act of wearing a party logo or have any party ornaments within 50 metres of a polling station is an election offence under Section 26(1)(g) and carries a jail term up to 1 year or a fine of up to RM5,000 or both.

We applaud the Election Commission (EC) officers on duty for their awareness of this election offence and carried out their duty to have Manogaran escorted out of the polling station. But the policemen on duty at the gate should have stopped Manogaran from entering in the first place.

As firsthand eyewitness of the offence, we urge the EC to lodge a police report for this violation. We call for investigation and commensurate actions be taken by the PDRM and the Attorney-General Chambers.

The continual instances of election offences being committed by the two main contesting candidates in this by-election reinforces the need for all political parties to come together to discuss what are the reasonable compliance parameters for election laws and what are the areas that need urgent update and reform. This was first proposed by YB Khairy Jamaluddin on the 20th of January. Bersih 2.0 would be happy to organise such a roundtable discussion and to moderate the discussion.

Bersih 2.0 will be publishing a comprehensive report of the Cameron Highlands by-election within a week of the close of the poll today. Apart from highlighting election offences by the candidates, we will also be making some recommendations on how we can move forward to ensure that future elections are cleaner and fairer.

Statement issued by:

The Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee