KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has welcomed electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0’s report that he committed six offences while campaigning during the recent Port Dickson by-election.
Among the offences identified by the report on Friday (Oct 26) was Anwar’s attendance at a zakat aid distribution with the Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar.
Other offences include: appearing at an awards ceremony for army veterans and a free concert by top Malaysian artists.
Anwar, when met by reporters at the Parliament lobby on Monday (Oct 29), downplayed the offences identified by Bersih 2.0, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections.
He said he wasn’t aware that he had committed offences when he attended certain events organised by local communities in Port Dickson.
As an example, Anwar said he wasn’t aware that it was wrong to attend the free Picnic@PD concert, which was organised by the Anwar Ibrahim Club (AIC).
“I welcome their concerns and if we look at them specifically, for example, the concert which saw M.Nasir’s performance.
"I don’t know how I’ve committed an offence," said Anwar, who is the incoming PKR president.
“I was invited, so I attended for a short while to listen to my favourite songs.
"The issue is, why did they not invite other candidates?” he questioned.
Anwar, the newly elected Port Dickson MP, also addressed his attendance in several dinners organised by local communities, explaining that he was just there to meet voters.
“For example, I attended an event by the Chinese community and they had 10 to 20 NGO’s that sponsored food.
“I didn’t even have the time to eat. I left after 20 minutes,” he said.
Asked if he was shocked by Bersih 2.0’s report, Anwar merely dismissed the report as the electoral watchdog’s opinion.
“But they haven’t asked me about my view.
"Nevertheless, they gave a few observations and I think we should look into it and answer it adequately.”
Bersih 2.0 had taken issue with Anwar's attendance at an awards ceremony for army veterans (where no other candidates were invited) and a zakat aid distribution with the Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar.
"It again raises questions on the abuse of government machinery and created an unfair level playing field among the candidates," said Bersih 2.0 executive director Yap Swee Seng on Friday.
He also questioned the free concert and two dinner events that saw Anwar campaigning.
As for PAS, they were found handing out free gifts such as televisions, home appliances and free medical check-ups at their campaign events.
Bersih 2.0, in unveiling its report for the Port Dickson by-election, said the Election Commission should have more power in probing election offences, as such matters are only investigated by the police at the moment.