TTF: On the 8th of March, Bersih 2.0 alleged that the Semenyih polls saw a total of 35 cases of election offences and misconduct, the highest among all six by-elections held since the 14th General Election.
What did Bersih do about it?
Not only did Bersih fail to lodge reports with the Election Commission, there has not been a word on the matter ever since.
And today, Bersih is asking if Dr S Streram and Miri MP Michael Teo breached electoral laws by providing food coupons to underprivileged students.
Will Bersih please take the matter up with the EC instead of wasting everyone’s time with all these meaningless statements?
Perhaps it’s true what a Bersih official told me right after the Semenyih poll concluded.
According to him, these claims of irregularities are meant only to create the perception that elections conducted under the PH administration are clean and fair and that Bersih is not partial towards any one political faction.
He also told me that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is listed as a patron and member of Bersih.
Does Mahathir dare deny this?
KUALA LUMPUR: The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) has questioned whether the move by Miri member of Parliament Michael Teo to provide RM75,000 worth of food coupons to 300 underprivileged students from five schools amounted to the offence of treating.
This is in view of the upcoming Rantau By-Election, with nomination taking place tomorrow and polling day on April 13.
The food coupons were also distributed at the request of Dr S Streram, the prospective PH candidate for the by-election, who was also present at the event, it said.
“Bersih 2.0 wishes to point out that Section 8 of the Election Offences Act 1954 (EOA) clearly states that it is an election offence of treating for anyone to give food, drink, refreshment, provision, money, ticket or any other means for the purpose of corruptly influencing any person to vote at an election.
“Section 8, along with other sections of the EOA on promotion of ill-will and hostility, undue influence and bribery, begins with the phrase “before, during and after an election.
“Bersih 2.0 would suggest that the interpretation of “before an election” means before the Nomination Day and thus it would be reasonable that the starting period for election offences to be committed, to be from the moment a seat is declared vacant or when Parliament or State Assembly is dissolved,” it said in a statement.
The Rantau state seat was declared vacant on Feb 26 after the Federal Court dismissed incumbent Barisan Nasional candidate Mohamad Hasan’s appeal.
“Since everyone already knew for sure that the by-election will be carried out from that point, it would be reasonable to assume that all unscheduled political activities that are carried out in the constituency are done for the purpose of fishing for votes, especially so with Dr Streram in attendance, who was announced as Pakatan Harapan’s candidate for the Rantau state seat”.
Bersih 2.0 said it is of the opinion that all form of treating, undue influence, bribery and promotion of ill-will and hostility from the point a seat is vacated, constitute an election offence.
“Thus, it is our view that the election offence of treating was committed by the Miri MP in this instance.”
Nonetheless, Bersih 2.0 said it is entirely up to the relevant authorities to act on such alleged offences and for the Court to interpret the election law.
It also called upon the Election Commission to take all necessary steps for redress and ensure that all parties adhere to the EOA.
“With the official Campaign period about to start tomorrow, Bersih 2.0 calls on all parties and candidates to adhere not just to the letter of the law but also to the spirit of the EOA, which is, elections must be free, clean and fair.
“It is our hope that with the Rantau by-election, we will see a reversal of the upward trend in offences committed in the past six by-elections since GE14.”