'Giving money without getting vote is not bribery'
It is not bribery when an election candidate hands out money to voters but they have not promised to vote for him or her, an Election Court heard today.
Lawyer DP Vijandran, who is acting for the BN’s G Palanivel ( left ), said this when raising a preliminary objection against the Cameron Highlands election petition field by the DAP's defeated candidate M Manogaran.
"If there is a promise, there needs to be a counter-promise. There needs to be a bargain,” Vijandran submitted at the hearing in Kuala Lumpur this morning.
"If taking money without promising to vote ... (if someone says) 'vote for me' and pays money, it is not bribery. There must be a response."
Furthermore, Vijandran argued, the voter's counter-promise or bargain must also be proven to have been carried through.
One of the grounds raised in the petition is that Palanivel, who is also the MIC president, had given RM200 in cash to various village heads.
Other grounds are that an election offence had occurred through BN's newspaper advertisements, allegedly creating ill-will among voters. It was also claimed that an exco member of the caretaker BN-led Pahang government had threatened and bribed voters.
Vijandran argued that the petitioner had failed to furnish the full speech of the alleged threat to show the context of the exco member’s remark, which could have been made in jest.
He also said responsibility for the supposed threat to chop off the hands of voters not casting their ballot cannot be extended to Palanivel.
Election judge Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid agreed that the threat appeared "bizarre" and the context was necessary so as not to mislead.
Matthew Thomas, who acted Manogaran, posited that the full text would only be needed if the election petition goes to trial and that Palanivel is held responsible by virtue of his association with BN.
Earlier, both sides consented to striking out the second and third respondents from the petition, namely returning officer Ahmad Daud and the Election Commission, at a cost of RM5,000 each.
Manogaran ( left ) told Malaysiakini that his team is only going for Palanivel, for tactical reasons.
Previous election judges had granted huge costs to respondents when striking out petitions in other cases, Manogaran said.
The court fixed Aug 26 for a decision as to whether the Cameron Highlands election petition should be struck out.
In the May 5 general election, Palanivel narrowly defeated Manogaran in the parliamentary constituency with a 462-vote majority.