The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) refers to media reports that the Pakatan Harapan candidate M Manogaran was escorted out of the Senderut School polling station by Electoral Commission election officers for wearing a shirt with the Pakatan Harapan logo.
While we noted Manogaran’s apology, we still find the excuse given by Manogaran, a seasoned election campaigner and lawyer himself – that it was early in the morning and he was in a rush – rather flimsy.
This act of wearing a party logo or having any party ornaments within 50 metres of a polling station is an election offence under Section 26(1)(g) and carries a jail term up to one year or a fine of up to RM5,000 or both.
We applaud the Electoral Commission officers on duty for their awareness of this election offence and for carrying out their duty by having Manogaran escorted out of the polling station. But the police personnel on duty at the gate should have stopped Manogaran from entering in the first place.
As eyewitness of the offence, we urge the Electoral Commission to lodge a police report for this violation. We call for investigation and commensurate action to be taken by the police and the Attorney General’s Chambers.
The continual instances of election offences being committed by the two main contesting candidates in this by-election reinforces the need for all political parties to come together to discuss reasonable compliance parameters for election laws are and the areas that need urgent update and reform. This was first proposed by Khairy Jamaluddin on 20 January. Bersih 2.0 would be happy to organise and moderate such a roundtable discussion.
Bersih 2.0 will be publishing a comprehensive report on the Cameron Highlands by-election within a week from polling day yesterday. Apart from highlighting election offences by the candidates, we will also be making some recommendations on how we can move forward to ensure that future elections are cleaner and fairer.
Bersih 2.0 steering committee