Friday 27 May 2011

BN rep: We don't pay, they won't vote

Kuek Ser Kuang Keng
May 27, 11 Malaysiakini

Tamin BN assemblyperson Joseph Mauh Ikeh has vehemently shot down any allegation of vote-buying during the Sarawak state polls.

He clarified that the payments to voters was 'transport allowance' otherwise they would not come out to vote.

joseph mauh ikeh tamin mp 270511Besides the transport allowance, some of the voters were paid for campaign work like putting up posters, according to the Parti Rakyat Sarawak vice-president.

"This is normal. It is not vote-buying. We paid the voters for them to buy petrol because they came to vote at their own expense, or else they would not have come out to vote," he told Malaysiakini when contacted today.

"If no money was paid, nobody would come to vote, then who is going to be elected as YB (assemblyperson)?" he asked.

His statement was in response to the polls watchdog Malaysian Election Observation Network's (MEO-Net) allegation yesterday that some Tamin voters were paid RM50 on April 14, two days before the polling day.

'Everybody is doing it' argument
MEO-Net had released a short video recording showing stacks of cash purportedly being distributed to voters at the Rumah Unban Anak Endu longhouse located at Tenting Terentang in Nanga Selangau.

The three-term MP and two-term state assemblyperson claimed that the opposition was doing the same to get the electorate to vote.

"Eveybody did that, the opposition also did that. We also have proof of the other side (opposition). They gave RM10, RM20 and even RM100 to the voters.

"Both opposition and BN paid the voters throughout Sarawak in all 71 constituencies, he added.

Joseph Mauh also stressed that the law allows each candidate to spend up to RM100,000 in an election.

"We paid them but they still had the freedom to vote. That's why over 3,000 had voted for the opposition.

"This is not vote-buying, please, this is just something like saguhati (consolation)," he said.

Joseph Mauh retained the Iban-majority seat with 4,998 votes, a 1,292-majority over PKR's Mengga Mikui who bagged 3,706 votes.

MEO-Net has been furnishing evidence of alleged vote-buying, intimidation and abuses of government resources during the 10-day Sarawak election campaign period.

The watchdog claimed money politics was so rampant that were all allegations investigated extensively, they are likely to nullify the state election results.
According to MEO-Net, giving money to voters is an offence under section 10(a) of the Election Offences Act 1954.

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