Cash handouts before, during, or after an election are bribery

IT was said, by none other than the anti-graft chief, that a bribe is a bribe no matter how one chooses to describe it. 

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Commissioner Azam Baki said the Election Offences Act 1954 (Revised 1969) was very clear on what constitutes vote-buying. 

“Section 10(a) of the Act is very clear and whatever layman terms used to defend an argument is a mere personal interpretation. 

“Name it ‘sedekah’ (alms) or ‘contribution’, the law deems it a bribe paid to voters – regardless of whether the voters solicit it or not,” he told The Star. 

In the case of Manogaran Marimuthu v Sivaraj a/l Chandran [2018] MLJU 1973, an election petition was filed to challenge the return of the respondent as the MP for the federal constituency of Cameron Highlands. 

The election judge ruled that the onus was on the petitioner to prove beyond reasonable doubt the allegations he raised. After analysing the evidence, the judge had this to say: “It is clear that these surrounding circumstances led me to the inevitable conclusion that the money was given to induce the voter to vote. 

“Therefore, it does not matter if the respondent says that the money was given as ‘duit rokok’ or as travelling allowances as these are merely to disguise the real intention of the giving of money before the election.” 

Call it what you like – “sedekah, sumbangan, duit rokok, duit kopi, duit tambang” – cash handouts before, during or after an election are bribery. 

* Hafiz Hassan reads The Malaysian Insight.  

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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  • The public is eagerly waiting to see how effectively the MACC acts on this. As investigations proceed, will it discover that without any substantive evidence that those who received the charitable gifts did vote for the particular person their votes were solicited for with the gifts, there is no case to prosecute in court??

    I hope I'm wrong to make such an assumption, and actually hope that the MACC will succeed in showing that such 'charity' is indeed corruption.

    Posted 1 week ago by Ravinder Singh · Reply

  • It's outright bribery and all these ho ha on PAS and PN is because they ate opposition. But if they were to govern today, MACC will sing a different tune, too. We have a systematic problem on all area because we're like lang.... authorities and civil service sing a different song each time one rules Bolehland. These mindset must change. Our civil service is toothless but that 60+ years of UMNO rule has to be blamed. We need to give this bite back to civil service but that too may lead to more corruption...... Now, where shall we start to fix em????

    Posted 1 week ago by Crishan Veera · Reply