KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 – Following a senator’s reported remark that Orang Asli village chiefs could lose their salaries or posts if they did not support Putrajaya in the upcoming Cameron Highlands by-election, the Election Commission has warned politicians and campaigners against breaching election laws.
The commission’s chairman, Azhar Harun, reminded them not to breach Section 9 of the Election Offenses Act 1954, which involves corrupt practices and placing undue influence on voters, as it would invite serious consequences.
“Many believe that it is ok to do whatever they like before nomination day. They should read the law,” Azhar said in a tweet.
“Many acts are offences if they are committed before, during or after an election. Read guys, Read!” he said.
Azhar was responding to a Malaysiakini report about Orang Asli senator Bob Manolan Mohd’s reported comments that Orang Asli village chiefs (tok batin) in Cameron Highlands could lose their salaries and posts if they did not support the federal government.
Bob Manolan, from PKR, was further quoted as saying that tok batin are paid by the federal government and, therefore, they must support Pakatan Harapan (PH).
“If they don’t support, ‘kita buang’ (we discard them),” he reportedly said.
PKR president Anwar Ibrahim asked Bob Manolan to immediately clarify his alleged threats to tok batin.
“There is no coercion in a democracy. Bob has to clarify his statement immediately,” Anwar said in a tweet.
Election watchdog Bersih 2.0 chairman Thomas Fann, in an immediate reaction, asked the Election Commission to haul up the senator for his threats.