PETALING JAYA: More than 1,000 complaints alleging electoral offences have been filed since the conclusion of the 14th general election (GE14) last year, according to Bersih 2.0, the coalition for free and fair elections.
Yet, it said, the authorities have yet to take any action over those complaints. “They should come clean and explain,” said the NGO’s chairman, Thomas Fann.
“If the police have done their job, then the Attorney-General should explain why no charges have been laid,” he said.
The complaints were over several types of offences in the seven by-elections since GE14.
Fann told a press conference today that the lack of enforcement of the law and the absence of prosecution under existing legislation would result in more offences of that type being committed.
He also pointed out that neither the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) nor the police had provided any updates on the reports lodged.
Bersih, and two other electoral watchdog groups Engage and Tindak Malaysia have collectively recorded 36 election offences and instances of misconduct in the Rantau by-election on April 13.
Of these cases, 19 were allegedly committed by Pakatan Harapan (PH) and 16 by Barisan Nasional (BN). 25 of the offences occurred on the polling day itself.
In the by-election, BN candidate Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan beat PH’s Dr S. Streram and two independent candidates to retain the seat.
Bersih executive director Yap Swee Seng said there were two cases of ‘undue influence’, seven of offering treats and gifts, one case of political violence, intimidation and harassment, and one of promoting ill-will or hostility through race and religion.
Yap commended the candidates for a drop in the incidence of hate speech.
“However, there was an increase in instances of treats and gifts being given. Both PH an BN hosted dinner events or gave food away during the campaign,” he said.
“We suggest that the Election Commission works with the police to deal with such offences, and the AGC studies the feasibility of filing charges against the offenders,” he added.