Tuesday, May 5, 2015

‘Petrol money’ for voters not bribery, says polls chief

BY MOHD FARHAN DARWIS

Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof says today there must be proof a voter was influenced by cash and voted according to the giver’s request. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, May 5, 2015.

Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof says today there must be proof a voter was influenced by cash and voted according to the giver’s request. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, May 5, 2015.
Providing allowances such as cash to voters to return home to vote is not a form of bribery, as long as the giver does not order them to vote for certain candidates, Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said today.
For it to be considered bribery, there must be proof that the voter was influenced by the cash and voted according to the giver’s request, he said.
Aziz said the EC had consulted the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over this and was informed that it was not an offence under anti-graft laws.
“However, I do not encourage such a practice,” Aziz told a press conference at the Rompin by-election media centre in Kuala Rompin, Pahang, today.
“Based on the act, (bribery) must involve giving out money and voting, and it must be proven that they voted a certain candidate.”
He said MACC had also informed him if voters were given “allowances” and only told to return home and vote in their area, it was not bribery.
“I asked MACC, if they give allowances and tell them to go back home and vote, (but) that is not wrong according to MACC’s laws.
“For example, if someone gives a voter a ticket to return to Sarawak and tells him to vote for a particular candidate and prove it, then that is wrong. If he said, you must vote for a certain candidate, and prove it, then that is bribery.”
Voting for the Rompin by-election began at 8am today with 38 polling stations and 115 streams opened.
As of 11am, 24,438 out of 52,744 voters have come out to cast their ballots, with the turnout at 46%.
“This is a high percentage, very high… the average in an hour is 15%” said Aziz.
“Trends such as this is normal in a by-election, even a general election, and by 1pm to 5pm, it starts slowing down.”
Aziz said the EC hoped for a 80% voter turnout in Rompin today.
The Rompin by-election is a straight fight between Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Datuk Hasan Arifin and PAS’s Nazri Ahmad. The results are expected to be announced tonight. – May 5, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/petrol-money-for-voters-not-bribery-says-polls-chief#sthash.lil7PXVd.dpuf

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