PETALING JAYA: The Election Commission (EC) has asked those with first-hand factual information on any electoral offence committed during the Cameron Highlands by-election to lodge a police report.
EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun (pic) said nobody should lodge a report if he or she does not have first-hand factual information on any incident.
“The EC can only implore candidates and campaigners to comply with the law.
“The commission does not have investigative or prosecutorial powers,” he said.
Azhar was referring to a report that orang asli Senator Bob Manolan Mohamad allegedly threatened Pos Betau orang asli village headmen that the Pakatan Harapan government would take away their salaries if they do not vote for the coalition in the Cameron Highlands by-election.
He said the same rule applied to all electoral offences which may be committed during the by-election.
“If anyone with a second-hand story lodges a report, his or her statement to the authority would be mere hearsay.
“Electoral observers can also advise campaigners or candidates on the spot if they witness an incident that breaches the law,” said Azhar.
Under the Election Offences Act 1954, it is an offence to coerce voters in an election.
Bob Manolan, in his defence, claimed that he did not make any threats during his dialogue session with the headmen, saying that he only explained to them to put aside political difference and work together with the federal government to better their villages.
“I did not say that Tok Batins who do not support Pakatan will not get paid. That is not true.
“One Tok Batin asked me about their salaries and I explained that as the federal government pays the salaries of the Tok Batin, they would have to follow the agenda set out by the government.
“There are 18 Tok Batin in Pos Betau alone and some are heads of Umno branches in their villages and have refused to attend the meetings held by government agencies after GE14.
“I said you would have to choose between acting as a Tok Batin or as an Umno branch chief if you want to be helped by the federal government,” he said.
Did you find this article insightful?