The Parliament claim that the infamous offer by Najib to Rejang Park residents was not violating Election Offenses Act due to 3 excuses: 1. it was for public interests and not to individual voters; 2. There are court precedent that held that pre-election goodies are not corruption; 3. Any violation of the Election Offenses Act need to be proven in curt.
Well the issues are simple: 1. if you bribe a group od voters -it is still a bribe-not public interests; the offer of RM5mil is to get the voters’ vote-not to deliver the public project alone. Abusing public allocation to get votes even involved abuse of power-which is banned by almost all democracies-tell the rakyat why Malaysia/UMNO can allow such blatant briberies in legislative elections when UMNO’s own party elections does not allow such briberies?
2.The legal precedent may not be good in law and should be challenged; eg there were legal precedent set by a chief justice Tun mohd Eusof Chin that illegally obtained land titles are valid -yet it was overturned by the current chief justice. Actually it was also stated in the original judgement that the judge involved did not intend the judgement to open the floodgates to government allocations to fish for votes during elections;
3. There should be clarification from a court on such matter as a general issue rather than being judged on a case by case basis. This is the purpose of a general law-not something to be judged on specific cases only-thus putting the burden on the people to ascertain the application of a law! In Indonesia there is a Constitutional Court to decided on issues arising from interpretation of many public interests law. The court should not refrain from it.
The `clarification’ from the parliament came because the winning MP for Sibu asked a question in Parliament. Current election petition practice is to only consider an election fraud only if it affect the election result. So if the complained fraud is done by the loser then there is no way the court can find it to affect the election results. This violate the spirit of the law completely as the law provide that even 1 case of bribery nvolving just 1 voter is an offense. It doesn’t have to be so many that it affects who the winner is. There was an election court judge who allegedly said to admit that certain number of voters were bribed-but not enough to affect the outcome because the number involved is not higher than the winning majority in the said election. Such interpretation run counter to anti-corruption laws all over the world as any attempt at bribery itself is an offense as understood in many countries.
The clearing of Najib’s public allocation to buy votes have certainly reflected the fact that public allocations have been relied upon by BN to win elections. Without such bribery BN would have been disposed off long ago. The campaign to reject vote buying candidates/parties should get started ASAP-most importantly ahead of the 13th GE! Reject the vote buyers!