Manogaran: Not illegal to reimburse campaign volunteers

Pakatan Harapan candidate M. Manogaran (left) and Tanah Rata campaign manager Chiong Yoke Kong (centre) at a press conference in Cameron Highlands January 14, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Pakatan Harapan candidate M. Manogaran (left) and Tanah Rata campaign manager Chiong Yoke Kong (centre) at a press conference in Cameron Highlands January 14, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — It is not an offence for campaigns to reimburse volunteers for food and transport expenses, Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate M. Manogaran said today.

News portal The Malaysian Insight also quoted the Cameron Highlands hopeful as saying that he was unsure if the 60 Orang Asli volunteers that the PH campaign had given petrol money of RM20 each were voters in the by-election.

“Giving money to volunteers for their food and transportation is not legally wrong,” Manogaran was quoted as saying.

“This is just part of the election expenditure that will be noted in the accounts and sent to the Election Commission.

“The court says that giving money in exchange for votes is wrong.”

PH was embroiled in controversy after pictures emerged on social media of a woman in a PH shirt giving out cash to other people in similar dress, which the PH campaign later said was a reimbursement of petrol costs for volunteers living in Cameron Highlands.

PH supporters and election watchdog Bersih say that reimbursing campaign volunteers for expenses is not an offence, but BN leaders insist that volunteers should not be paid and questioned if all voters would be made “party machinery” to make money politics acceptable.