Updated 4.25pm, 29 May 2009
BUKIT MERTAJAM, 29 May 2009: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is mulling lodging a police report against Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin for allegedly inciting Penanti voters not to vote in the by-election.
PKR said Khairy’s comments, as reported in the Malay-language daily Sinar Harian on 28 May in the article Pilihan raya Penanti perlekeh amalan demokrasi:Khairy, if accurate, were an offence under the Election Offences Act.
PKR youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akim had earlier this morning told The Nut Graph over the phone that he would be lodging the police report at Kubang Semang police station here at 2.30pm today.
But on advice of lawyers, Shamsul later backed down, and said they would give the Rembau Member of Parliament 24 hours to retract his statement.
When asked about the U-turn, Shamsul explained that the decision to wait was prompted after a discussion with the party lawyer, “who advised us to withhold making the police report”.
“We understand that under the Election Offences Act, the Election Commission can actually investigate into Khairy’s alleged statements, even without a police report being lodged,” Shamsul said when contacted.
“Furthermore, we are going to double check the accuracy of Khairy’s alleged statement as reported in Sinar Harian on 28 May.”
Shamsul went on to explain that PKR Youth still intends to take the matter up. “Therefore, we are giving Khairy 24 hours to retract his statement, and if he fails to comply, we will go ahead and lodge the police report,” he added.
Earlier, at a press conference, PKR information chief Latheefa Koya explained that Khairy’s comments were a clear violation of the Election Offences Act 1954.
“What Khairy said is an offence under Section 4A of the act,” she said.
Section 4A (1) of the act says it is an offence to “to induce any elector or voter to vote or refrain from voting at an election”. A violation of the offence carries a prison term not exceeding five years or a fine not exceeding RM10,000 or both.
PKR elections director Saifuddin Nasution also said the party hoped that the Barisan Nasional would not try to sabotage its campaign.
“We hope they will not use the police, the mainstream media or other tactics like giving out ‘free tourism’ to voters to go outside of Penanti on polling day,” he said.
Latheefa explained, “If they do this, it would be a violation of Section 3(n) of the act.”
Section 3(n) says it is an offence to obstruct or prevent “a voter who is otherwise entitled to vote from voting at an election”, and carries a prison term of not more than two years, or a fine not exceeding RM5,000 or both.
Saifuddin said that he was confident that Penanti voters were “more mature than that” and would not cave in to such tactics.
The state by-election is a four-cornered fight with PKR’s Dr Mansor Othman facing three independents — former PKR Wanita chief Aminah Abdullah, former Gerakan local leader Nai Khan Ari Nai Keow and Kamarul Ramizu Idris.
Tian on PKFZ report
On the public release of the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) audit report, PKR strategist Tian Chua challenged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to act swiftly on the matter.
“The MACC has proven that it is able to act very swiftly and decisively in cases such as (Selangor Menteri Besar) Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim’s cow scandal, and the Aminah Abdullah audio recording of the alleged bribery by PKR,” he said.
He said that therefore the MACC had no reason to drag its feet on the PKFZ audit report.
Today, Port Klang Authority (PKA) chairperson Datuk Lee HwaBeng submitted a copy of the audit report to the MACC’s Putrajaya office.
At the same press conference, the PKR candidate Mansor also unveiled his 10-point “governing principles” if he is made Deputy Chief Minister 1.
“These 10 points are meant for me to play a complementary role to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng,” he said.
The 10 points include developing sustainable economic policies, respecting the environment, poverty eradication and empowering youth.