Bersih slams BN, PH for flouting election laws in Semenyih polls

Voters waiting for their turn to cast their ballot at a polling station in Semenyih this morning.

SEMENYIH: Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 has slammed Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional for flouting election laws by asking voters to support them after voting had begun in the Semenyih by-election.

Its chairman Thomas Fann also wondered if the candidates broke the laws as authorities, including the police and Attorney-General’s Chambers, had failed to take action for similar offences in the past.

He was referring to reports that PH candidate Muhammad Aiman Zainali and BN’s Zakaria Hanafi had urged voters to give them their support.

“We are most disappointed that both the PH and BN candidates seem to have ignored the election laws,” he told FMT.

“We call on all who witnessed these offences, including the Election Commission, to make police reports and submit these reports to Bersih so that we can monitor whether action is taken or not.”

This morning, Aiman, of PPBM, told reporters he hoped voters would back PH, while Zakaria was seen saying “vote for BN” at the polling centre at Kampung Sesapan Kelubi in Beranang.

PSM central committee member S Arutchelvan, who is the party’s campaign manager for the by-election, also claimed that both PH and BN were “blatantly abusing” the Election Offences Act by campaigning openly outside the polling centres.

Bersih executive director Yap Swee Seng later lodged a police report on the alleged election offences, based on feedback by the group’s observers at the polling stations.

It came just as EC chairman Azhar Harun urged the electoral watchdog to lodge a police report if it had evidence of any wrongdoing.

Azhar, who visited the SMK Bandar Rinching polling centre, told reporters: “If (what Bersih) says is right, then it is an offence. You cannot campaign from midnight last night.”

He urged others, not just Bersih but reporters as well, to lodge reports if they had videos that could be considered as depicting election offences.

Azhar said that media reports could be considered as evidence as long as the reporters who wrote them were the ones who recorded the candidates’ statements.