Adakah Ahli Parlimen Miri melakukan kesalahan pilihan raya penjamuan? (BM/ENG)

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File photograph: Malay Mail Online

[ENGLISH VERSION BELOW] Gabungan Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil (Bersih 2.0) merujuk kepada laporan Bernama yang dibawakan oleh Malaysiakini pada 28 Mac dengan tajuk “5 sekolah di Rantau mendapat kupon makanan percuma dari Ahli Parlimen Miri”.

Dilaporkan kupon makanan percuma itu berjumlah sehingga RM75, 000 telah diberikan kepada 300 pelajar miskin daripada lima sekolah dalam kawasan pilihan raya kecil Rantau.

Ahli Parlimen Miri Michael Teo selanjutnya menambah bahawa beliau melakukan perkara ini kerana permintaan Dr S Streram, prospek calon Pakatan Harapan untuk polihan raya kecil ini. Streram turut hadir apabila kupon ini diedarkan.

Bersih 2.0 ingin memaklumkan bahawa Seksyen 8 Akta Kesalahan Pilihan Raya 1954 jelas menunjukkan menjamu sesiapa sahaja dengan makanan, minuman, makanan atau minuman ringan atau bekalan, apa-apa wang, tiket atau apa saja kaedah lain bertujuan mempengaruhi seseorang secara rasuah untuk mengundi pada pilihan raya adalah satu kesalahan.

Seksyen 8 dan seksyen lain dalam akta ini seperti pengembangan perasaan jahat dan permusuhan, pengaruh tidak wajar dan rasuah dimulakan dengan frasa “sebelum, semasa dan selepas pilihan raya”.

Bersih 2.0 ingin mencadangkan interpretasi “sebelum pilihan raya” bermaksud sebelum penamaan calon dan permulaan yang munasabah bagi tempoh bagi kesalahan pilihan raya dilakukan adalah sewaktu kerusi diisytiharkan kosong atau pada ketika Parlimen atau dewan undangan negeri dibubarkan.

Kerusi Rantau diisytiharkan kosong pada 26 Februari selepas Mahkamah Persekutuan menolak rayuan Mohamad Hasan sebagai penyandang kerusi tersebut.

Memandangkan semua pihak sudah mengetahui pastinya pilihan raya akan diadakan selepas daripada itu, adalah munasabah untuk menganggap aktiviti politik yang tidak dijadualkan di kawasan tersebut dilakukan bertujuan untuk memancing undi, terutama dengan kehadiran Streram, yang telah diumumkan sebagai calon Pakatan Harapan untuk kerusi Rantau.

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Bersih 2.0 berpandangan semua bentuk penjamuan, pengaruh tidak wajar, rasuah dan pengembangan perasaan jahat dan permusuhan dari saat kerusi dikosongkan boleh dianggap sebagai kesalahan pilihan raya. Justeru, kami berpandangan MP Miri telah pun melakukan kesalahan pilihan raya iaitu penjamuan.

Walaubagaimanapun ianya tertakluk kepada badan penguatkuasa yang berkaitan untuk bertindak terhadap tuduhan ini dan terletak kepada mahkamah untuk mentafsirkan undang-undang pilihan raya. Bersih 2.0 menggesa Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya untuk mengambil tindakan yang sewajarnya bagi memastikan semua pihak patuh kepada AKP.

Dengan bermulanya tempoh berkempen secara rasmi esok, Bersih 2.0 menggesa semua parti dan calon untuk mematuhi bukan sahaja perkataan di dalam undang-undang namun juga semangat Akta Kesalahan Pilihan Raya, iaitu pilihan raya wajib bebas, bersih dan adil.

Kami berharap pada pilihan raya kecil Rantau ini kita dapat melihat trend peningkatan kesalahan pilihan raya seperti enam pilihan raya kecil yang lalu dapat dikurangkan.

Jawatankuasa pemandu Bersih 2.0

English version

Has the Miri MP committed the election offence of ‘treating’?

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) refers to the Bernama report carried by Malaysiakini on 28 March 2019 with the title “Five Rantau schools gets free food coupons from Miri MP”.

Food coupons amounting to RM75,000 were reportedly given to 300 underprivileged students from five schools in the Rantau by-election constituency. Miri MP Michael Teo added that he did this at the request of Dr S Streram, the prospective Pakatan Harapan candidate for the by-election. Streram was present when the coupons were distributed.

Bersih 2.0 wishes to point out that Section 8 of the Election Offences Act 1954 clearly states that it is an election offence, known as treating, for anyone to give food, drinks, refreshments, provisions, money, tickets or any other means for the purpose of corruptly influencing any person to vote at an election.

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Section 8, along with other sections of the act on the promotion of ill-will and hostility, undue influence and bribery, begins with the phrase “before, during and after an election”.

Bersih 2.0 would suggest that the interpretation of “before an election” means before nomination day. It would thus be reasonable to say that the starting point for election offences to be committed is from the moment a seat is declared vacant or when Parliament or a state assembly is dissolved.

The Rantau state seat was declared vacant on 26 February after the Federal Court dismissed incumbent Mohamad Hasan’s appeal. As everyone already knew for sure that a by-election would be held from that point, it would be reasonable to assume that all unscheduled political activities carried out in the constituency are done for the purpose of fishing for votes, especially so with Pakatan Harapan candidate Steram in attendance.

Bersih 2.0 believes that all forms of treating, undue influence, bribery and promotion of ill-will and hostility from the point a seat is vacated constitutes an election offence. Thus, it is our view that the offence of treating was committed by the Miri MP in this instance.

Nonetheless, it is entirely up to the relevant authorities to act on such alleged offences and for the court to interpret the election law. Bersih 2.0 urges the Electoral Commission to take all necessary steps for redress and ensure that all parties adhere to the Election Offences Act.

With the official campaign period about to start tomorrow, Bersih 2.0 calls on all parties and candidates to adhere not just to the letter of the law but also to the spirit of the act – which is, elections must be free, clean and fair.

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It is our hope that with the Rantau by-election, we will see a reversal of the upward trend in offences committed in the past six by-elections since the 2018 general election.

Bersih 2.0 steering committee

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