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Wednesday, 25 January 2023 14:31

Press Release from BERSIH

25 January 2023

CASH HANDOUTS OR GIVING OF ANYTHING VALUABLE DURING ELECTIONS IS BRIBERY

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) reiterates that the giving of cash handouts or anything valuable during elections is bribery. To eradicate this malady requires not only the consistent enforcement of the Election Offences Act 1954 (EOA), but also the enactment of the Political Financing Act (PFA) and the setting up of a permanent Parliament Standing Committee to scrutinize the election system and process.

BERSIH refers to the statement by PAS President Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang who stated that cash handouts by the public during election campaigns is a a form of charity and not bribery. Though the giving of alms has become part of our culture in Malaysia, the giving of cash or anything valuable during elections can be considered as the election offence of bribery.

The statement by Abdul Hadi Awang that only candidates and their agents are forbidden from giving handouts is not in line with Section 10 (Bribery) of the Election Offences Act 1954 which states that every person before, during and after an election, who directly or indirectly gives cash or anything valuable, can be considered as having committed the offence of corruption.

What this means is that any cash or anything valuable given to voters during an election period to influence a person to vote for or refrain from voting is a form of corruption. It does not matter if the act was done directly or through a third party, it is bribery.

While the law clearly states that this is an offence, the authorities, be it PDRM or SPRM, need to investigate and the Attorney-General as the public prosecutor, need to charge the people involved before the Court could pass judgement. Abdul Hadi Awang's statement is an admission that monies was given out during GE15 as a "charity". The Court should be given the opportunity to give their interpretation in this matter.

BERSIH wishes to put on record several other actions that can be regarded as election offences under Section 8 (Treating) and 10 (Bribery) of the EOA 1954 during GE15. Our full report will be released shortly.

Besides the enforcement of the law, especially the EOA, to curb corrupt practices during elections, proactive measures by the Government and Parliament to enact the Political Financing Act (PFA) should not be further delayed.

The PFA has been discussed since the administration of Najib, Mahathir, Muhyiddin and Ismail Sabri while they were Prime Ministers. The PFA Bill should be reviewed by a parliamentary committee that takes in the considered views of key stakeholders as well as the public.

BERSIH proposes that a permanent Standing Committee on Electoral Matters and Multiparty Democracy be established in this coming February sitting of Parliament so that the long awaited PFA Bill that has been hidden from the scrutiny and feedbacks of the public could be reviewed by the Committee.

The drafting and tabling of the PFA should not be delayed because it would give the perception to the public that this Government is not serious is addressing the problems of election bribery and money politics and the warp perception that any investigation against the opposition for corruption is politically motivatedvand witch-hunting because the AG still has the power of prosecution.

Statement issued by:

The Steering Committee of BERSIH


 

 

Kenyataan Media BERSIH
25 Januari 2023
PEMBERIAN WANG ATAU BARANG BERNILAI TETAP MENJADI RASUAH
Gabungan Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil (BERSIH) menegaskan bahawa pemberian wang atau barangan bernilai dalam pilihan raya adalah rasuah. Bagi membanteras gejala ini, selain penguatkuasaan Akta Kesalahan Pilihan Raya 1954 (AKPR) yang konsisten, penggubalan Akta Pembiayaan Politik dan penubuhan sebuah Jawatankuasa Pilihan Tetap Parlimen (JPTP) juga perlu untuk memantau sistem dan proses pilihan raya.

BERSIH merujuk kepada kenyataan Presiden PAS, Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang yang menyatakan bahawa pemberian wang oleh orang awam ketika waktu kempen pilihan raya adalah satu bentuk sedekah dan bukannya rasuah. Walaupun menjadi budaya masyarakat di Malaysia untuk memberi sedekah, namun sekiranya pemberian wang itu diberikan ketika waktu pilihan raya maka pemberian wang tersebut boleh dianggap sebagai satu kesalahan rasuah pilihan raya.

Kenyataan daripada Abdul Hadi Awang bahawa hanya calon dan wakil calon sahaja yang tidak boleh memberikan wang semasa pilihan raya adalah bercanggah dengan Seksyen 10 (Penyogokan) di bawah AKPR. Seksyen 10 AKPR menyatakan tiap-tiap orang sebelum, semasa atau selepas pilihan raya secara sendiri atau melalui mana-mana orang lain secara langsung atau tidak langsung memberikan wang atau apa-apa balasan bernilai boleh disifatkan sebagai melakukan kesalahan penyogokan.

Hal ini bermaksud sebarang pemberian wang atau barang bernilai kepada pengundi dalam tempoh pilihan raya untuk mempengaruhi mengundi atau tidak mengundi seseorang calon adalah satu bentuk rasuah. Tindakan tersebut tidak mengira sama ada dilakukan secara langsung oleh calon mahupun oleh pihak ketiga. Apabila wang diberikan semasa pilihan raya ianya adalah satu kesalahan rasuah.

Meskipun undang-undang secara jelas menyatakan kesalahan tersebut, pihak berkuasa sama ada pihak PDRM atau SPRM perlu menyiasat dengan lebih lanjut dan pihak Peguam Negara selaku pendakwaraya perlu mendakwa pihak yang terlibat sebelum mahkamah menjatuhkan hukuman. Kenyataan Abdul Hadi Awang walaupun seperti mengakui bahawa ada pemberian wang yang diberikan pada PRU15 sebagai satu bentuk ‘sedekah’, namun mahkamah perlu diberikan ruang untuk memberi tafsiran mereka di dalam perkara ini.

BERSIH juga turut merekodkan beberapa tindakan yang boleh dianggap sebagai kesalahan pilihan raya di bawah Seksyen 8 (Penjamuan) dan Seksyen 10 AKPR semasa PRU15 yang lepas. Laporan lengkap akan dikeluarkan dalam masa terdekat.

Selain pelaksanaan undang-undang, khususnya AKPR, bagi mengekang kegiatan rasuah terutama dalam pilihan raya, Kerajaan dan Parlimen perlu mengambil tindakan proaktif iaitu melalui penggubalan Akta Pembiayaan Politik (APP).

Penggubalan APP ini tidak sepatutnya dilengahkan lagi kerana akta tersebut telah diperbincangkan pada zaman Najib, Mahathir, Muhyiddin dan Ismail Sabri menjadi Perdana Menteri lagi. Rang Undang-undang (RUU) untuk APP harus diteliti oleh sebuah jawatankuasa parlimen yang mengambil dapatan-dapatan yang bernas serta menyeluruh daripada semua pihak berkepentingan dan orang awam.

BERSIH mencadangkan agar sebuah Jawatankuasa Pilihan Tetap Parlimen (JPTP) Berkaitan Hal Ehwal Pilihan Raya dan Demokrasi Pelbagai Parti ditubuhkan dalam sidang Parlimen Februari untuk dirujuk kepadanya dan diperkemaskan RUU APP yang sudah lama disebut tetapi terselindung daripada penelitian dan maklum balas orang awam.

Penggubalan dan pembentangan APP ini tidak sepatutnya dilengahkan lagi kerana hal tersebut boleh memberi persepsi bahawa Kerajaan tidak serius menangani rasuah pilihan raya dan politik wang, selain wujud persepsi songsang bahawa sebarang penyiasatan terhadap kesalahan rasuah oleh pihak pembangkang adalah bermotifkan penganiayaan dan pemburuan politik (witch hunting) kerana Peguam Negara berkuasa mengawal pendakwaan.

Dikeluarkan oleh:
Jawatankuasa Pemandu BERSIH

 

 

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 January 2023 14:38
 

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