BERSIH/Pemantau Press Statement - Electoral Offences In Tasik Biru, Sarawak
Pemantau expresses the utmost concern of the multiple election offences committed in Tasik Biru Constituency with no regard or respect for electoral processes in a working democracy.
A team of Pemantau has been stationed for the past two weeks in Tasik Biru area and have recorded instances of elections offences listed below;
1) Money Politics / Vote Buying / Treating
- There were multiple reports by local residents of being given RM 20 – RM 50 to attend events and vote for Barisan National candidates. This was verified through interviews with some voters, however they were reluctant to reveal their names for security reasons. Pemantau team also witnessed RELA officers and their family members receiving RM 30 after an event by Barisan National. When interviewed, some of the recipients were disappointed as they were told that they will receive RM 50.
- All of Barisan National events organized during the campaign period saw free food being given out. At one lavish dinner event organized by YB Tiong King Sing in Bau Town, 7 course dinner were served to an approximate of 1000 people from around Bau Town.
- During an event organized by the Home Affairs Ministry with RELA members in Dewan SUARAH, Bau, it was announced that a total of RM 36 million was approved for RELA (Tan Sri Datuk Patinggi Haji Adenan bin Satem – RM 8 million, Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi – RM 8 million and Dato’ Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak – RM 20 million). In addition, a total of 38.5 acres was allocated for building Sarawak RELA’s main training centre in Lundu, Sarawak. Deputy Home Affair Minister, Datuk Nur Jazlan than continued to say “if the government gives, they have to “setia berbakti”. They were also said to be influencers in their communities and that the duty of RELA members is to defend “Bumi Kenyalang” and the (ruling) government. It was then said “Kamu mesti undi calon N2 Datuk Hendry Harry Jinep”.
- At another event in Kampung Duyoh organized by FAMA together with Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), residents were promised better roads and better infrastructure for the villagers if the Barisan National candidate is elected. It was also heard that there were envelopes of money passed around after the event but Pemantau could not verify this information.
2) Threats and Intimidations
- At an event organized by the Ministry of Tourism in the area of Serumbu, DUN N18, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri bin Abdul Aziz in his speech mentioned that if the voters of the area elects an opposition leader, he will not bring any tourism-related development into the area. His priority is only to engage with Barisan National ADUN’s and not the ADUNs from opposition political parties. He also called the people who vote for the opposition as “bodoh” multiple times in his speech.
- Pemantau also received an anonymous tip “I am resident of Bau here… I just heard from my friends that Barisan National is giving the money to the houses at the area and told them to vote BN otherwise will warn them to cut off their electricity and water supply…. They are fear and feel scare to vote others…. Feel like ugut”. The message could not be verified but it is one of the many messages that the Pemantau team has received.
3) Use of Federal resources for state election campaigns
- Other ministerial departments such as Ministry of Agriculture and also Ministry of Tourism organizing events in the rural villages which saw multiple promises being made and distribution of goods such as ovens, sewing machines, rice bags harvesting tools and water tanks to selected villagers. Such events always finishes with the call to vote for the Barisan National candidate or such assistance is no longer available to them. Examples of such event is in “Program Kampung Duyoh – Perasmian Pusat Penjaja” on the 4thof May 2016.
4) Other Comments
- Members of Pemantau noted that for certain candidates the costs incurred for one event alone could not possibly have been held without violating the expenditure limit of maximum RM100, 000 as provided under Section 19 of the Elections Offences Act 1954.
- Pemantau highlights the fact that Election Commission officers were present at certain events and was seen to take no action or comment to the candidates towards any of the election offences witnessed by members of Pemantau.
In conclusion, not only were there blatant disregard of election laws, this is an alarming sign that there is a broken democratic system practiced in the current state elections in Sarawak which is accepted as a norm. The check and balance mechanism supposedly represented by the Election Commission meant to prevent such practices is non-existent.
The election commission has failed to ensure that the Sarawak State Elections is conducted in a clean, free and fair way. The only way to counter the remaining election frauds that will happen tomorrow is by voting in big masses. We urge everyone who is eligible to vote to utilize their democratic right and to go out and vote.
We also urge the election commission chairman Datuk Seri Hashim Abdullah to resign immediately for failing his duty to ensure that elections are conducted in clean and fair way.
Issued by: The Sarawak Pemantau Committee and the Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee