‘Sedekah’ or ‘contribution’, a bribe is a bribe despite how one chooses to describe it.
The MACC will investigate any form of bribery using provisions under the law, and not based on personal interpretations of individuals, said its chief Azam Baki.
Azam pointed out that the Election Offences Act 1954 (Revised 1969) clearly defined what constitutes vote-buying.
“Section 10 (a) of the Act is very clear and whatever layman terms used to defend an argument is a mere personal interpretation.
“Name it ‘sedekah’ (alms) or ‘contribution’, the law deems it a bribe paid to voters – regardless whether the voters solicit it or not,” he was quoted as saying by The Star.
Azam highlighted that Section 10 (a) defined in detail acts of bribery before, during and after elections, adding that it did not matter whether the crime was committed directly or indirectly, meaning by the candidate himself or by a representative on his behalf.
He said this in response to debates triggered after PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang defended the party’s distribution of cash to voters during GE15, claiming that it was a charitable act and hence, not prohibited by electoral law.
The Marang MP also said existing rules only prohibited contesting candidates and their representatives from giving cash to voters.
Last week, Terengganu BN urged the authorities to immediately investigate the PAS state government over the allegations, with its state chief Ahmad Said’s reported instruction for division and state legislative assembly youth heads to lodge reports with the MACC.
On Jan 3, the Terengganu Umno liaison body filed election petitions to annul GE15 results for Kuala Terengganu, Marang and Kemaman parliamentary constituencies.
The petition filed in the Kuala Terengganu High Court raised allegations that PAS had bribed voters by distributing financial aid from the state government through the i-Pension, i-Belia and i-Student initiatives between Nov 15 and 17, 2022 – which was just a few days before GE15. – Malaysiakini