PKR president-elect Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim committed a total of six election offences during the Port Dickson by-election, reported the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0)
The electoral watchdog released its report on the by-election earlier today, 26 October.
Bersih 2.0 reported that a total of 10 election offences were committed. The remaining four offences were committed by Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) candidate Mohd Nazari Mokhtar.
Bersih 2.0 said offences committed by the newly-elected Port Dickson MP "raises question on the abuse of government machinery and created an unfair level playing field among the candidates"
The six offences Anwar was said to have committed include:
- making a surprise appearance at an awards ceremony for army veterans while no other candidates were invited,
- attending a zakat aid distribution event together with the Chief Minister of Negeri Sembilan,
- launching a free online tuition portal with links to the Perak state government,
- campaigning at a free concert, and
- campaigning at two dinner events.
Of the last three offences, Bersih said, "It was unclear who paid for these events and if both events were organised with his or his agent's authorisation as part of election campaign in accordance with Section 15A of the Election Offences Act, where the event expenses have to be reported in the candidate's account."
Bersih also applauded the Election Commission (EC) for implementing improvements that resulted in a smooth by-election
According to Bersih, the EC made the following improvements:
- proactively reminding independent candidate Kan Chee Yuen that distributing free pens is an election offence,
- reminding ministers to only campaign outside of working hours, and
- instructing election enforcement officers to take action against party supporters who campaign outside the polling centre.
"Bersih 2.0 applauds the EC for taking such proactive preventive measures and such measures should continue and be strengthened in future with clearer guidelines and briefing to all the candidates and their election campaign team before election campaign period starts," the report read.
Lastly, Bersih 2.0 called for all political parties to extend their full cooperation with the EC, stressing that it is crucial for Malaysia to become a "truly democratic country"
"We call on all ministers and government agencies to refrain from inviting any election candidate to government public events or functions during election campaigning period in future election," added the committee.
The principle of separation between political party events and government events and administrative neutrality must be observed at all times.
According to The Malaysian Insight, the report will be presented to the EC for further action.
The EC Chairman previously called out politicians for abusing their power by campaigning during work hours:
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