PETALING JAYA: Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s offer of aid to Terengganu youth violated the principle of a fair election, said the electoral reform group Bersih, while acknowledging that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission was “not wrong” to have cleared Zahid of wrongdoing.
Bersih chairman Thomas Fann said it was unfair for a sitting government not in a caretaker mode to use its resources in a state that is holding legislative assembly elections.
He said Bersih could not expect MACC “to come up with non-legally binding guidelines” for such instances.
However, Zahid’s offer violated two of the three “Cs”in Bersih’s election guidelines, by attaching conditions for the aid and for giving targeted allocations to Terengganu youth only, instead for all youth.
Fann said it would be up to the voters to punish such antics.
“When parties and politicians violate any form of guidelines for free and fair elections, the only recourse is for voters to judge their abuse of state resources for campaigning at the ballot box,” he told FMT.
On Friday, Zahid announced grants of RM250,000 to the Terengganu Malaysia Youth Council, RM200,000 to motorcycle teams throughout the state, and RM100,000 to the Central Terengganu Development Authority (Ketengah) youth association.
During the event, Zahid, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman and Umno president, called for the youth present to vote for the “blue and red wave” at the state elections next month, adding that the amount allocated may be increased depending on the results of the Aug 12 polls.
The announcement led to brickbats with some saying it constituted a “bribe” to voters in the state.
Earlier today, MACC’s chief commissioner Azam Baki said the announcement was above board as the allocations promised to Terengganu are federal-level initiatives.
Azam said if the allocations were approved by the federal government then “there is no element of bribery.”
This morning Fann cautioned politicians on the campaign trail against statements that seemingly sets conditions for aid or electoral pledges.
He said those canvassing for votes should keep in mind the Terengganu election court’s decision last month to nullify PAS’ victory in Kuala Terengganu over alleged vote buying.