It is incredulous that Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof is totally blind to facts. But that seems to be his speciality.
He is unable to see the various election abuses and offences blatantly committed by the Barisan Nasional in their true perspective. He seems to be an expert in explaining away these abuses as non-electoral offences.
His recent comment following the Sungai Limau by-election – that there was no element of bribery in the sale of rice and sugar at greatly discounted prices by the BN – is mind-boggling.
A 1kg packet of sugar was sold for RM1; and a packet of 5kg rice normally selling at RM18-20 was sold at RM5. A huge surge of people snapped up these offers.
The point to take note of is that this generosity was not displayed in Sungai Limau before the by-election; nor were the discounted prices made available in other parts of Kedah. These reduced prices were confined to Sungai Limau and offered on the eve of the by-election.
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But according to Abdul Aziz, “What I know is, the act is not an offence. I was not informed of this. If it was sold to the public, it shouldn’t be a problem but what is not allowed is if they had called voters to buy the items at a cheap price and then insisted that they vote for a certain candidate.”
There is no need for the voters to be told to “vote for a certain candidate”. It was obvious that the offer came from the BN and the intention was very clear. No one could miss the point as to why this was made available on the eve of the by-election. There was no need to say the obvious. The implication was crystal clear.
Yet, Abdul Aziz contends, “There are no election laws regarding this…” Indeed there are no restricting laws to prevent offers at rock bottom prices. The question is, why at this point in time? And why, only in Sungai Limau?
Aren’t there laws about bribery during elections? Doesn’t it say that it is not permitted to offer inducements to influence voters?
Ask the person in the street, ask the person who has not gone to university, ask any simple person and they will tell you that it was nothing but blatant bribery! It is a wonder how this simple truth did not dawn upon Abdul Aziz!
The voters of Sungai Limau must be congratulated because they refused to be swayed by the last-minute inducement to vote for the BN. They realised that the BN was not addressing their need but was only feeding the greed of the people. And that did not work!
Hopefully, this will be the fate of the BN in future by-elections. The people will accept what is given to them but they will vote according to their conscience.
Executive committee member
7 November 2013