MACC opens investigation papers over GE15 'sedekah'

24 Jan 2023 08:25pm
MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki
MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki

SHAH ALAM - The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has opened investigation papers over claims that there are vote buying or corruption during the 15th General Election (GE15) campaign.

Its chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki said through complaints and evidence in a form of video recording which was alleged to have taken place in Terengganu, the anti-graft agency has investigated the allegations that cash handouts were given as a bait to obtain votes.

He said under Section 10 of the Election Offences Act 1954, it is an offence to give any financial aid throughout the campaign period as it was described as bribery.

He said even though there were political parties that used the term “sedekah” (charity) in giving out financial aids to the people, the cash handouts were still a form of bribery under the law.

“Yes, some used the term “sedekah”, however it is still an offence of giving bribe according to Section 10 of the Election Offences Act.

“The MACC has decided to take action by opening investigation papers after receiving complaints during and after the election.

“The investigation process is done for any cases referred to us at MACC,” he said today.

He was commenting on Pas president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang’s statement regarding the petition filed by Terengganu Umno to nullify the GE15 result in three parliamentary constituencies in the East Coast states.

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Abdul Hadi said those who had been recorded giving money to voters were only doing charity.

The Marang MP contended that under the election law, only candidates and their agents were prohibited from giving money.

Meanwhile, opposition leader and Larut MP Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said the act of giving money during the campaign depended on one’s intention.

Hamzah said people should not focus on the cash handouts, but where the money had came from.

Commenting further, Azam said any form of gifts given to gain something back in return or without any specific reasons, would still be considered as an act of bribery.

He said even though many reasons were given stating the gifts were a donation or contribution, the act of giving money during a campaign was inappropriate at anytime, anywhere.

Azam said the matter was against the existing act even though several terms could be used to cover up “bribery” acts to voters.