IPOH, Jan 16 — Seven people have been summoned by the Perak Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) after pictures of a woman handing out money during the Cameron Highlands by-election went viral.
State director Datuk Zainul Darus said statements have been recorded from the seven who appeared in pictures, including the woman.
“I confirm a complaint had been received (over the picture) and we are investigating it,” he said, appealing to the public to not speculate on the matter.
Speaking to reporters at the Commission’s office at Bandar Meru Raya here today, Zainul said the Commission had yet to decide on which Act to investigate the matter under.
“We are unsure whether to investigate under the Election Offences Act 1954 or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009,” he said, adding that a decision will be made after the by-election has concluded.
.Astro Awani earlier reported that the woman had arrived at the Commission’s operations room at Tanah Rata on Tuesday at 7pm and left some three hours later.
Pictures of the woman in a PH shirt giving out cash were shared on social media, sparking claims from Barisan Nasional leaders that the ruling coalition engaged in bribery in the election.
DAP’s Lim Kit Siang has since clarified that the woman is a volunteer from DAP’s Impian Malaysia programme and those being given money were among 60 Orang Asli motorcyclists who received RM20 each as travel reimbursement.
Election watchdogs have previously said in their report on the 13th general election that bribery included cash, and travel allowances or reimbursements.
However, the Coalition of Free and Fair Election (Bersih 2.0) Chairman Thomas Fann have defended PH’s explanation and stated that it is permissible to do so if they accounted for it as expenses in their election campaign budget as prescribed under the Election Offences Act.
Election Commission chairman Azhar Harun also clarified that only the court can decide whether the travel “reimbursement” is an election offence, urging the public to report any alleged wrongdoings so the facts can be ascertained.