EC Member: Not All Gifts During Campaign Are Illegal

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KUALA KANGSAR, Jun 17 – Not all actions or gifts per se given during elections are illegal under Section 10 of the Election Offences Act 1954 if they are made during the campaign period. Election Commission (EC) member Datuk Abd Aziz Khalidin said the law had been interpreted according to each person’s political leanings, and the EC will not interfere with them.

“The EC conducts elections according to the existing laws and not according to the interpretations made by any person or political member. Interpretations of the law for offences should not be literal based merely on the words under Section 10 of the Act,” he said in a statement here.

“It must be comprehensive, proven by oral evidence and documents as well as that the gift was to influence certain people to vote for a party during the election. My earlier statement on the cash aid of RM500 given by the government to rubber tappers, rice given by MCA and Gerakan, and vegetables (sawi) by the opposition, at the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections had been misinterpreted,” he said.

“Based on the reports made, there seems to be an assumption that the EC had decided that every act/gift did not contravene the law. Mstatement should be seen from the aspect of campaigning during the by-elections and so far, the EC did not see any problems or violations of the regulations for the by-elections,” he said.

Abd Aziz added that the EC had never prevented anyone from lodging a report to the authorities if there were any bribery-related acts during the elections. However, all claims must be proven with supporting evidence and should not be based only on opinion or personal interpretations or media reports. 

He said that the interested parties still have legal recourse to prove their claims and not just make blind accusations. The Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar Parliamentary by-elections are being held simultaneously on June 18 following the deaths of the incumbents Datuk Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad and Tan Sri Noriah Kasnon in a helicopter crash in Sarawak on May 5. — Bernama

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