Bersih lodges 4 police reports on offences during Semenyih polling

Bersih executive director Yap Swee Seng (second from right) and his team show clips of the election offences allegedly committed during polling for the Semenyih by-election today.

SEMENYIH: Electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 has lodged four police reports on alleged election offences by Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan during the polling for the Semenyih by-election today.

The offences are providing transport for voters to polling centres and the setting up of “pondok panas” (voter assistance booths) at a polling centre at SMK Bandar Rinching.

The reports were lodged by a team of Bersih officials, led by executive director Yap Swee Seng, at the Semenyih police station this afternoon.

Asked by reporters why they did not include canvassing for votes by the candidates, Yap said the police reports were based on what Bersih’s team had observed at the polling centres.

“They were based on our own observations. We will not lodge reports on alleged offences reported in the media,” he said.

Yap also proposed stiffer punishments for parties that flouted the Election Offences Act 1954 to deter such activities in the future.

Election Commission chairman Azhar Azizan Harun said it could only act on alleged election offences once a report was lodged by those who saw these offences firsthand.

Azhar had said earlier that Bersih should lodge a police report on its claim that BN and PH candidates had canvassed for votes after polling had started.

FMT had quoted PPBM’s Muhammad Aiman Zainali as telling reporters that voters should vote for PH, while Umno’s Zakaria Hanafi urged voters to support BN and an “orang kampung” (local boy) like him.

Bersih chairman Thomas Fann told FMT that these were election offences under Section 26(1)(a) of the Election Offences Act, which states that no person shall campaign on polling day to members of the public.

Section 26(2) states that any person who contravenes the provisions of this subsection shall be liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for not more than one year, a fine not exceeding RM5,000 or both.

Azhar said it was wrong for the media to ask a candidate who would win or who the people should vote for.

“Don’t ask them who the people should vote for. He’ll answer that (by saying ‘vote for me’),” he said.

Asked if the EC would take action against Aiman, who is said to have taken pictures with EC officers and asked them to vote for him, Azhar said the commission would have to investigate first.

He also said he was not aware of a commotion reported at the Sesapan Batu Rembau polling centre over a banner featuring Rosmah Mansor, wife of former prime minister Najib Razak.

It was reported that PH supporters had prevented EC officials from removing the banner which had “Who is the boss? I am the boss” written on it.

“I don’t know. We didn’t get any report,” Azhar said, adding that the banner was likely provocative.