The Election Commission (EC) today reiterated that it does not have jurisdiction to investigate the spending of a political party.
EC chief Mohd Hashim Abdullah said this in response to complaints made by Tanjong MP Ng Wei Aik and Rasah MP Teo Kok Seong against BN over the coalition’s admission that it spent RM1.5 billion in the last general election.
“At this stage, the EC needs to study the allegations holistically as it involves investigation powers and other matters which cannot be done on a whim.
“As stated before, if it involves a political party, the EC has no jurisdiction to do any investigation.
“The EC’s power is over candidates who are contesting and only during the campaign period,” he said in a press statement today.
Malaysia has a total of 222 parliament seats and 576 state assembly seats.
A parliamentary seat candidate is allowed to spend up to RM200,000, while a candidate in a state assembly seat is only allowed to spend up to RM100,000, bringing the maximum sum to a total of RM102 million.
Mohd Hashim said the issue being raised concerns the spending of a political party instead of candidates, which jurisdiction falls under the Societies Act 1966.
“The EC has to be cautious not to overstep its jurisdiction so as not to intrude into the jurisdiction of other agencies which have complete investigation powers,” he said.
Furthermore, Hashim said the EC had been challenged in court by PKR on a similar issue and the High Court had ruled in the commission’s favour.
Likewise, he said election petition had also been field by individual candidates which the courts have already decided on.
“The EC has gone through the legal process in whole and interested parties have also obtained justice in the election courts,” he said.
Former Kedah menteri besar Mukhriz Mahathir last week claimed that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak revealed in a meeting of Umno liaison chief that BN spent RM1.5 billion in the last general election.
This was later confirmed by Malacca Chief Minister Idris Haron, who is also the Malacca Umno liaison chief.
Subsequently, the opposition lodged a slew of complaints against BN, claiming that it violated Section 19(1) of the Election Offences Act 1954 which spells out the limits to a candidate’s election spending.