RANTAU, April 13 ― Election candidates are barred from pleading for votes on polling day, Election Commission (EC) chairman Azhar Harun said today.
He urged the public to file a complaint with the police and furnish proof of such acts for action to be taken, in response to claims that Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate Dr S. Streram had asked voters to back him after casting his ballot this morning.
“You cannot beg for votes nor campaign after the period is over,” Azhar told reporters after an inspection at SK Nyatoh, one of the 14 polling centres in the Rantau by-election.
He said the official campaign period ended at 11.59pm yesterday.
Several reporters who encountered Dr Streram at SJK (T) Rantau after he voted this morning heard the Rantau hopeful say he “hoped voters will come out and support PH” and asked Azhar if the remark was tantamount to an election offence.
“If it’s true he said that, then it’s an offence because starting from 12am yesterday till 5.30pm today campaigning is not allowed.
“If there is video proof and such, please make the police report,” the EC chief said.
Azhar was also asked if political party supporters outside polling centres were in violation of election laws by holding up their fingers to signal their candidate’s number on ballot papers.
“I don’t know how to answer that question,” he said.
“However if you want to make an issue out of it please make a police report.
“If the case goes to court then based on the decision they make we can use that as guidance for the future,” he added.
A number of political party supporters who had set up tents outside several schools used as polling centres were seen making the hand gesture to passing constituents.
Those in the PH booths held up four fingers to denote Dr Streram’s number on the ballot paper while those in the Barisan Nasional booths held up one finger to indicate Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan’s number.
The Rantau by-election is a four-cornered contest among Dr Streram; Umno acting president and former Negri Sembilan mentri besar Mohamad and two independent candidates, R. Malarvizhi, a housewife, and Mohd Nor Yassin, a former lecturer.