TANAH RATA, Jan 19 ― The candidates and political parties contesting in the Cameron Highlands by-election are being very cautious in their campaign activities because they realise they are being closely observed, said watchdog Malaysian Corruption Watch (MCW).
MCW president, Jais Abdul Karim, said the reason behind it is the photographs that surfaced on social media of a Pakatan Harapan (PH) worker giving out cash to volunteers on nomination day.
The party clarified that the amount of RM20 each was petrol reimbursement for 60 Orang Asli who had come from the interior of Tanah Rata.
“Since that incident, we’ve found that political parties are being very careful in carrying out their activities,” Jais told reporters today.
“This is very good when consciousness arises following exposure of a particular case by netizens and we hope they continue to play an important role in channelling information on such cases,” he added.
Jais said MCW has thus far received five complaints regarding abuse of power and corruption during the campaign in Cameron Highlands which has been channelled to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
“MCW has no power to investigate. We only accept reports from the public, including netizens, and request for detailed information. We will then take this information to MACC,” he said.
Jais said this is the first time MCW is being appointed as an observer by the Election Commission of Malaysia, with 12 of its members taking turns to scrutinise the campaign.
Earlier, Jais attended a meet-and-greet session of PH’s candidate, M. Manogaran, with voters around Tanah Rata, accompanied by Kuantan member of Parliament (MP), Fuziah Salleh, and Jelutong MP, RSN Rayer.
The by-election is being held because the Election Court on Nov 30 nullified the victory of Barisan Nasional’s (BN), Datuk C. Sivarraajh, in the 14th general election (GE14), as there was evidence of bribery during his campaign.
With polling day set for January 26, it will be a four-cornered fight between Manogaran, BN candidate, Ramli Mohd Noor, and two independent candidates, Sallehudin Ab Talib and Wong Seng Yee. ― Bernama