MALAYSIAN Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki said Pas leaders can describe the act of giving cash handouts caught on video during the 15th General Election (GE15) campaign period any way they want, but the graft busters are investigating it as potential vote-buying.
He said MACC had opened investigation papers on such cash handouts in Terengganu during the election campaign period.
“It does not matter if they use terms like sedekah (charity). It is still corruption as defined under Section 10 of the Election Offences Act 1954.
“We have opened a few investigation papers after receiving complaints during and after the election, and we will investigate every case that was referred to us,” he told the New Straits Times.
However, party president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang on Saturday said those caught on video handing out money to voters in three Terengganu constituencies during GE15 were just ordinary people giving out charity.
The Marang member of parliament said there was nothing wrong with such an act as electoral laws stated that only candidates and their representatives were not allowed to give any form of handouts.
He said there was an attempt by some quarters, especially Terengganu Umno, to challenge the party’s victory in Marang, Kuala Terengganu and Kemaman.
In Kota Baru, Sharifah Mahsinah Abdullah reports that Pas has continued to defend Hadi’s statement.
Its vice-president, Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah, said even Perikatan Nasional (PN) secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin had stood by Pas’s version of the events.
Mohd Amar, who is Kelantan deputy menteri besar, said Hadi had merely stated what was stated in the Election Commission’s rules and regulations.
Hamzah on Sunday said PN had strong evidence to deny allegations that the coalition bribed voters in GE15.
He said the coalition’s defence team was ready to prove that the allegations by Terengganu Umno, made through three election petitions, were untrue.
The remarks from the two top leaders were also supported by the Pas Youth wing. – NST ONLINE