PETALING JAYA: The holy month of Ramadan was possibly one of the factors for the fewer electoral offences committed in Sandakan compared to earlier by-elections in the peninsula, says electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0.
"Nineteen electoral offences were recorded in the recent Sandakan by-election, with eight offences for campaigning on polling day, two of feasting, two of abuse of government assets, two of creating hate and enmity, one undue government influence and four other offences," Bersih 2.0 said in a statement on Tuesday (May 21).
The Sandakan by-election for the Parliamentary constituency was held on May 11 after the death of incumbent Datuk Stephen Wong Tien Fatt.
His daughter Vivian Wong Shir Yee of DAP won the by-election by 16,012 votes out of the 21,595 votes cast with an increased 11,521-vote majority, despite a lower turnout rate at 54.44%.
Bersih 2.0 said that there were fewer electoral offences in Sandakan compared to the Rantau and Cameron Highland by-elections in January and April, especially in the cases of feasting and treating.
"This might be due to the Ramadan factor," said Bersih 2.0.
There was also less abuse of government machinery as well as undue government influence.
The most number of electoral offences were recorded on polling day as supporters continued to campaign and use party flags on cars ferrying voters to voting centres.
Bersih 2.0 also commended the Election Commission for providing transport to the elderly and disabled as well as buggy services and ramps at polling centres.
"There were also no extreme racist campaigns as well as creation of serious enmity during the Sandakan by-election," said Bersih 2.0.