The issue of the 100 Ibans who descended upon SUPP office in Sibu to collect payment from election promise has turned nasty in the last 24 hours: Wong Soon Koh, the candidate in the middle of the controversy, issued a threat to sue reporters of the news that the Ibans came for vote-buying payment amounting to Rm400.00 each. He gave a 48 hour deadline for the reporters to retract the report. Not only that there was a rumour that SUPP would protest at DAP HQ in Sibu over the vote-buying issue, after a SUPP leader claimed that the Ibans came to claim payment from work engaged by SUPP. The protest, said to be around 3.00pm today, never took place, according to SEW observers in Sibu, led by Wong Meng Chuo. SEW reporter, who broke the story, stand by her story when interviewed by Malaysiakini. It is most regrettable that SUPP chose to threaten the messenger rather than deal with the message, no matter how discomforting it may be. So the story which may take away one of SUPP’s few remaining state assemblyperosns, will be kept on the boil for a while.
The losing candidate Alice Lau of DAP has 3 weeks after the gazetting of the election results to file election petition to challenge the election results. If the suit by SUPP come to pass the reporter need all the public’s support-so that truths will continue to serve the public. Watch out!
Meanwhile the DAP Youth has called for investigation into the vote buying issue involving the 100 Ibans, and to call for the victory of SUPP in Bawan Assan, to be nullified.
Polls watchdog reiterates S’wak vote-buying claim
Watchdog Sibu Election Watch (SEW) has refuted SUPP’s claim that the party had only been paying wages to Ibans who had gathered in front of its Sibu office on Monday.
SEW reiterated that their allegation of vote-buying against SUPP was based on what they saw and their interviews with more than 10 individuals at the scene.
Group coordinator Boney Wong who had conducted the probe with another colleague, told Malaysiakini that they had visited the site and interviewed the group before issuing a press statement on the incident.
She said the interviewees never mentioned they were there to collect wages from SUPP, or that they had worked for the party during the election campaign.
“What they told us was that they got (an upfront payment of) RM100 before voting day and that, if the BN candidate won, they would each be paid another RM400.
“So they came to SUPP office to collect the money after being told to do so,” she said when contacted today.
Wong said some of the people also told SEW that, if the BN candidate won the state election, all the registered voters could claim the “balance” of RM400 with their identity card.
“Coincidently, there was a lady there who took out a stack of RM100 bills from her bag and distributed the money, together with some ICs, to her friends.”
She said the woman seemed unaware of the presence of SEW members and distributed the money without any attempt to hide what she was doing.
Wong said the woman’s actions matched with the content of the interviews with the people there.
“We uphold our stand because this is what we saw.”
‘Wages for party workers’
On Monday, SEW had issued a press statement revealing that more than 100 voters had gone to the Sibu SUPP headquarters that morning to demand RM400 each, as the reward promised for backing its candidates in the recent state election.
The incident was also reported by the web portal Sarawak Indigenous Community News and later tweeted by Sarawak DAP chairman and Bukit Assek assemblyperson Wong Ho Leng, who was at the scene yesterday.
However, in a Bernama report, SUPP Bumiputera unit head Andrew Shiling (right) refuted the report yesterday, claiming that about 18 longhouse chiefs and their respective longhouse committee members had come to the office for a discussion.
“We also took the opportunity to pay them wages as they had worked for us during the election,” said Shiling, who is also a vice-chairperson of the Sibu branch.
Malaysiakini had contacted Sibu SUPP yesterday for comment but was told that Shiling was in a meeting.
Its publicity chief, Daniel Ngieng, refused to comment, claiming that he was not aware of the incident.
Attempts to contact Sibu SUPP head Wong Soon Koh had also failed.
However, Soon Koh posted five messages on his social networking website Facebook page to rebut the allegation, saying that Ho Leng and Malaysiakini have defamed the party.
Another message was later posted on his Facebook fanpage, demanding that web portals should explain the reports or they would face legal action from SUPP.
“After consulting a legal expert, we give the Internet media 48 hours to explain the ‘no basis’ report.” reads the message.
“If they still insist on a one-sided report, we will not rule out taking legal action against these media black sheep.”
C hinese version:
砂拉越诗巫前日发生伊班人疑似到人联党诗巫党所讨钱的事件后，人联党恫言不排除向报道此事的网络媒体采取法律行动，不过揭露此事的诗巫选举监察员（Sibu Election Watch，简称SEW）组织却坚持他们在现场确实看到有人派钱。