PETALING JAYA: Electoral watchdogs Bersih 2.0, Engage and Tindak Malaysia have warned candidates in the upcoming Cameron Highlands by-election to play clean and fair or face their wrath.
The three watchdogs said that all the candidates will be watched closely throughout the Cameron Highlands by-election campaign period for the parliament seat to be held from Jan 12 to 25.
"A total of 26 observers will be deployed throughout the period of the by-election to monitor the campaign activities of candidates and political parties, as well as the conduct of the election by the Election Commission (EC).
"We warn all candidates and political parties that will be contesting in the Cameron Highlands by-election to keep away from election offences in their election campaigns," said the three watchdogs in a joint press statement released on Sunday (Jan 6).
They also asked the candidates to publicly sign a personal pledge on Jan 12 to ensure a clean and fair election in their campaigns.
"The pledge commits the candidates to run their election campaigns in a clean and fair manner, free from corruption and bribery such as cash or gift, undue influence on voters such as free dinners, free concerts, abuse of government machinery and resources, and the manipulation of racial and religious issues to incite hatred and violence.
"In view of election offences that continued unabatedly in the past four by-elections despite high public expectation for clean and fair election in the post 14th General Elections context, we will not hesitate to report election offences that are committed in Cameron Highlands by-election, in violation of the pledge and the election laws to all relevant authorities, including the police, the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
"Eye-witnesses of any election irregularities or offences are encouraged to lodge complaints to BERSIH 2.0 at the following hotlines: 03-7931 4444 or 017-872 5418 or 017-872 5419. They can also Whatsapp: 011-17721546 or go to aduan.pemantau.org," said the watchdogs.
On Nov 30, the Election Court declared Barisan Nasional’s win null and void after finding corrupt practices were committed to induce voters to vote.
The EC fixed nomination on Jan 12 and polling on Jan 26.
DAP's M. Manogaran was up against MIC's Datuk C. Sivarraajh in the 14th General Election in May last year, where he narrowly lost, garnering 9,710 votes to Sivarraajh's 10,307.
On June 4, Manogaran filed a petition seeking a declaration that the outcome of GE14 for the Cameron Highlands Parliamentary seat won by Sivarraajh was null and void for flouting the General Elections Act 1954.
The Election Commission on Dec 28 confirmed that Sivarraajh was not qualified to contest in the by-election.