PETALING JAYA: Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 says Pakatan Harapan (PH) was reported to have committed a higher number of election offences in the Seri Setia and Balakong by-elections than its opponents.
Acting chairman Shahrul Aman Mohd Saari said the Election Commission (EC) should be empowered to conduct an investigation and take action against those who commit election offences.
“For a long-term solution, I hope the EC will be empowered to investigate and prosecute people, like the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). Right now, they have no power to do that.”
He added that the last time Bersih made a report on the issue, there was no specific body to solve the matter.
In a press conference at the Bersih office here, Shahrul said the problems were mainly due to insufficient or ineffective training of election workers as well as inadequate law enforcement.
For the two by-elections specifically, he said, the main problem lay in the election campaigns of PAS, MCA and PH despite their pledges of clean elections.
In Bersih’s by-election observation report on Sungai Kandis, the electoral reform body said PH had committed five offences while MCA and PAS committed four each.
Among the offences committed by PH in both Sungai Kandis and Balakong was the abuse of government assets, resources, agencies and programmes to get votes.
Three ministers – PKR’s Mohamed Azmin Ali, Amanah’s Mohamad Sabu and Dzulkefly Ahmad, also from Amanah – were reported to have used official government cars for campaign activities in Balakong.
Other offences reportedly committed by PH included giving out goodies in exchange for votes and providing free food.
DAP candidate Wong Siew Ki was also seen wearing a shirt with the party’s logo when entering the polling centre.
The MCA candidate meanwhile was reported providing free food and giving out goodies to the people.
PAS’ Seri Setia candidate Dr Halimah Ali was also reported to have practised the same tactics as MCA, as she was found to be campaigning through her Facebook account on polling day.
Shahrul called on all political parties to stop handing out goodies in exchange for votes.
He added that parties should also stop abusing government assets and resources in order to get votes.
“This has become a culture during election season,” he said. “They should not repeat the culture of the previous government.
“We wish for cleaner elections in the future.”