KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today he will unlikely postpone a free banquet for the Chinese community in Port Dickson, even as Bersih 2.0 warned that treating voters may constitute an election offence.
The PKR president-elect was quoted by Malaysiakini as questioning the electoral watchdog as to why he cannot hold the dinner unlike other candidates.
“Why can’t I have the dinner?” Anwar was quoted as saying on the sidelines of the “Malaysia: A New Dawn” conference here.
“The [Chinese] community wants to give a dinner, I mean the other candidates are also having dinners,” he added.
Anwar did not elaborate on which other candidate is holding a free banquet for thousands of voters like the one planned for him.
“I don’t think I will postpone [the event],” he replied, when asked if he will delay the event until after the by-election this Saturday.
Last night, Bersih 2.0 executive director Yap Swee Seng told the Astro Awani show Let’s Talk that the dinner planned for up to 4,000 people may be an election offence for attempting to treat voters.
Section 8 of the Act defines “treating” as, among others, providing food, drinks, refreshments or provisions before, during or after an election “for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or any other person to give or refrain from giving his vote.”
Last week, Pakatan Harapan’s Lukut assemblyman Choo Ken Hwa was reported expressing his concern over the planned free dinner in his own constituency.
Malaysiakini reported Choo as saying the dinner is organised by a group calling itself “Port Dickson voters group”, but he suspects that the group is made up of Anwar’s supporters from out of town.
On October 1, Persatuan Muafakat One Belt One Road Malaysia and two Chinese NGOs in Port Dickson held a dinner for Lukut voters. Sin Chew Daily reported that a donor from Hong Kong had paid for the dinner.
The October 1 dinner was referred to by independent candidate Stevie Chan in his police report yesterday which accused Anwar of bribery.