Let EC, MACC probe Cameron Highlands vote-buying claims, says Syed Saddiq

PPBM Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman arrives for a Malaysian Youth Council dialogue session in Cameron Highlands January 14, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib
PPBM Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman arrives for a Malaysian Youth Council dialogue session in Cameron Highlands January 14, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib

CAMERON HIGHLANDS, Jan 14 — The Opposition should leave it to the authorities to investigate the vote-buying allegations against Pakatan Harapan (PH) in the Cameron Highlands by-election, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said today.

He said the Election Commission (EC) and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) could launch investigations, after PH admitted to giving cash to volunteers living in Cameron Highlands to reimburse them for petrol expenses. 

“The reason being is the EC now is very independent and the person who [was] appointed to head it is very outspoken on both sides,” he told reporters after a Malaysian Youth Council dialogue session at Sultan Ahmad Shah Golf Club here, referring to EC chairman Art Harun.

“We have seen the same EC appeal on behalf of Umno on the Rantau state assembly seat,” he added.

The youth and sports minister was referring to the case where the EC filed an appeal against the Election Court’s decision to nullify the 14th general election result in Rantau that Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan had won uncontested.

The PPBM lawmaker also pointed out that the MACC, which was previously under the Prime Minister’s Office, is now under the independent body of Parliament.

“The commission is best to arbitrate on this matter. Let them judge, they will be fair on both sides,” Syed Saddiq said.

Pictures of a woman in a PH shirt giving cash to other people wearing the same shirt have emerged on social media.

PH supporters and election watchdog Bersih 2.0 say that reimbursing campaign volunteers for expenses is not an offence.

However, BN leaders insist that volunteers should not be paid and questioned if all voters would be made “party machinery” to make money politics acceptable.