TANAH RATA: The Election Commission (EC) today ordered Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate M Manogaran to leave a polling station during polling today in the Cameron Highlands parliamentary by-election because he was wearing a shirt with a party logo.
EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun said Manogaran was ordered to leave the polling station at Sekolah Kebangsaan Senderut in Kuala Lipis soon after he was spotted in the attire.
He said no one is permitted within 50m of a polling station wearing or carrying material spotting the logo of political parties on polling day.
“The EC took immediate action by ordering him to leave the polling station,” Azhar told reporters after monitoring the polling at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Tamil) Ringlet.
The Cameron Highlands by-election is a four-cornered contest among Manogaran of PH, Ramli Mohd Noor of Barisan Nasional and two independents, Wong Seng Yee and Sallehudin Ab Talib.
It is being held following the Election Court’s nullification of the victory of C Sivarraajh of BN in the 14th general election due to vote-buying.
Manogaran, 61, apologised “to all quarters” over the incident, saying he did not realise that he was still wearing a shirt bearing the party logo as he had become used to wearing such shirts during the two-week campaign in the by-election.
“I apologise. It is not an issue at all. I will follow the rules. It was not intentional. I did not speak to the voters, so it is not an issue,” he told reporters during a visit to the polling station at Sekolah Kebangsaan Betau.
Manogaran also said that it was not his intention at all to challenge the EC’s rules.
Giving of hampers
Meanwhile, asked about the alleged giving of hampers to voters in an area last night, as reported on social media, Manogaran said he was informed about it this morning.
“I have to find out what really happened before I issue a statement,” he said.
Umno Youth chief Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki had uploaded onto his Facebook account several photos of Manogaran in the shirt bearing the PH logo.
Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who is discharging his duties as the party’s deputy president, alleged that the PH candidate and the party election machinery had also broken several other election rules by giving fuel money, using government vehicles, giving donations and intimidating the tok batin (Orang Asli chiefs).
Speaking to reporters outside the polling station at Sekolah Kebangsaan Betau, he questioned why NGOs such as Bersih, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, were silent on these matters.
Meanwhile, outside the polling station at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (C) Brinchang, EC chairman Azhar was asked to comment on a statement by MyPPP president M Kayveas that those contesting should be registered voters in the constituency. Both Manogaran and Ramli are not voters in the constituency.
Azhar said this matter did not come under the jurisdiction of the EC but the policy-makers.
“I leave it to the policy-makers to determine whether to make amendments or otherwise,” he said.