Maria: Give candidates leeway to interact with voters

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 11 Oct 2018

PORT DICKSON: The country’s election laws need to be amended to allow candidates to interact better with voters during the campaigning period, says former Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah (pic).

She said the current laws were quite restrictive.

“Datuk Seri Anwar (Ibrahim) was right when he said the laws need to be reviewed. That is one way of taking elections forward,” she said when met during Anwar’s campaign rounds in Bagan Pinang here yesterday.

Maria, who is also Petaling Jaya MP, had also agreed with an earlier statement by Bersih 2.0 (the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections) on the candidate’s election campaign expenditure.

It said Section 8 of the Election Offences Act prohibits treating of food, drink, refreshments or provisions to induce voters to vote for a particular candidate.

Bersih also highlighted Section 19, which caps the expenses for the election campaigns of Parliamen-tary seats at RM200,000.

As such, it said the expenses incurred for the free concert in Port Dickson should be borne by the candidate, his election agent or persons authorised by the election agent.

The cost should also be included in the financial statement of the candidate’s election campaign expenditure.

It was reported that the concert was organised by the Anwar Ibrahim Club, Pertubuhan Khidmat Kebajikan Masyarakat Madani and Muafakat Anak Muda PD.

Anwar has since suggested that some flexibility should be allowed and certain regulations be looked into to ensure that the law will not be “too constricting on the movement of election candidates”.

Maria hoped that the new Election Commission chairman Azhar Azizan Harun will look into the issue.

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