Thursday, May 7, 2015

Bersih: EC wrong to defend 'travel subsidies'

7:00PM May 6, 2015

Electoral watchdog Bersih today ticked off Election Commission chief Abdul Aziz Yusof for defending "travel subsidies" by parties for out-of-constituency voters.

Abdul Aziz defended the “travel subsidies” when asked about individuals in the BN operations room who handed out up to RM200 to voters at the Rompin by-election yesterday.

Bersih said Abdul Aziz should have instead reminded candidates to report and keep campaign expenses within the legal limit of RM200,000.

"Abdul Aziz's eagerness to excuse this practice shows that he is unfit to be the EC chairman," Bersih said in a statement.

As such, Bersih said Abdul Aziz should resign.

Reporters covering the Rompin by-election yesterday witnessed *individuals in the BN operations room handing out travel subsidies to voters.

According to one of those seen handing out the cash, voters who travelled from Kuantan get RM100 while those who travelled from Kuala Lumpur get RM200.

He also said those given the cash are not compelled to vote for any party and that he does not know who is providing the funds for these "travel subsidies".

When asked about these "travel subsidies", Aziz said they are not an offence.

This is because the parties providing the subsidies did not ask the recipients to vote for specific parties, he said.

However, Bersih said that even if such subsidies were not conditional, it might cause an uneven playing field as poorer candidates may not be able to provide as much of a travel subsidy as richer candidates.

"The competence he has so far displayed fits better for an office of (a) spin-doctor, rather than that of a guardian of democratic elections," Bersih said.

It said Abdul Aziz should just work as chief public relations officer in elections for BN instead.
~ Malaysiakini

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