Election Offences

Giving Treats

It is an offence to provide or arrange for treats of food, drink or provisions in order to influence a person to vote for a candidate or not to vote at all. Offering a voter a treat through an intermediary is also against the law. No voter may be given treats before, during or after voting hours in order to influence his voting. A voter who accepts these treats is himself committing an offence.

Bribery

No person may give money, gifts, loans or any valuable consideration to a voter in order to influence him in voting. A bribe given through a go-between is also illegal. A voter who accepts these bribes can be prosecuted. It is also against the law for gifts or financial inducements to be given to someone who agrees to persuade a voter to vote or not to vote.

Offers of Office/Position

The law does not allow anyone to offer, or promise to try to get, any office, place or employment for a voter in order to persuade him to vote for any candidate or not to vote. The use of intermediaries either to accept or to offer such inducements is equally an offence.

Threats

It is against the law to threaten or force a person to vote or not to vote. No voter may be prevented in any way from exercising his right to vote. The various forms of violence mentioned in the law include abduction, causing bodily injury or any other sort of damage, harm or loss. Causing spiritual injury, for example by persuading a voter that he will be punished by God if he does not vote for a particular candidate or party, is also an offence.

Freedom of Movement

On polling day, no unauthorised person is allowed, within 50 yards of a polling station, to find out who are the people entering or leaving the polling station. Neither are candidates allowed to establish booths or offices within 50 yards of a polling station. No one may remain in this area except to queue up to vote. Neither can anyone be forced to alight from a vehicle within 50 yards of any candidate's booth.

Transport

Anyone who attempts to influence a voter by paying for the cost of his transport to or from the polling station is committing an offence. No vehicle which is ordinarily rented out may be used to ferry voters to polling stations. A candidate may, however, arrange transport for voters to cross rivers in order to vote, but such transport must be made available to all voters in the area.

False Statements

A person breaks the law if he makes false statements about the personal character or conduct of a candidate to reduce his chances of winning. It is also an offence to make a false statement that another candidate has withdrawn from the election in order to assist a preferred candidate. Candidates or their agents who make false statements about their election expenses would also be breaking the law.

Punishment

The punishment for these offences is imprisonment of up to 12 months and a fine ranging from RM250 to RM1,000. A person convicted of any of these offences may be prohibited from voting and if he was a successful candidate, may lose his seat.

Reports and Complaints

If you wish to have fair elections, you should be ready to report election offences to the police or the Election Commission or to the Malaysian Citizens Election Watch (Pemantau).