Those who suspect that corruption is taking place in the run-up to the Sabah elections are strongly urged to report to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, said the Election Commission.
This follows allegations that Mohd Shafie Apdal has been going around Sabah and handing out land titles to villagers despite being only a caretaker chief minister.
Electoral reform groups have argued that caretaker administrations should not announce new policies, projects or hand out aid in the run-up to polls as this could be construed as buying support.
EC deputy chairman Dr Azmi Sharom said those observing and witnessing incidents of corruption should report to the MACC, which has deployed teams during the polls to monitor incidences of graft.
Azmi, however, did not say that Shafie’s actions constituted corruption.
Azmi said the EC does not have the power to investigate corruption despite the fact that it disapproves of it.
“Corruption is bad, and we don’t want it. But corruption is under the MACC who has the power to investigate it,” Azmi told reporters when asked about Shafie’s act.
“So, if you witness such activities, please report it to the MACC. In fact, we will have MACC support on this election, and they will send teams to monitor campaigning in the polls and they will accept such reports.”
Parties of the Perikatan Nasional alliance have accused Shafie of attempting to buy support in the election by giving out land titles to villages in Sabah’s interior and rural areas.
In response, Shafie has claimed these titles had been approved by his administration last year, before the Sabah assembly was dissolved on July 30.
The Sabah polls are being called after the assembly’s dissolution by Governor Juhar Mahiruddin.
Juhar had consented to Shafie’s request to dissolve the assembly and call for fresh elections in the state’s 73 seats.
Shafie had asked for the dissolution after claiming that ever since the downfall of the Pakatan Harapan federal government in late February, there have been repeated attempts to buy over state lawmakers who support his Parti Warisan Sabah-led government.
Warisan is allied to PH, which was toppled by defecting MPs who went on to form the PN coalition.
The EC has set September 26 for polling while nominations for contests are scheduled on September 12. – TMI