EC: MP's coupons can be viewed as 'treating', up to court to rule

Zikri Kamarulzaman

Modified 30 Mar 2019, 5:07 am

UPDATED | Miri MP Dr Michael Teo's food coupon handouts to children in Rantau are considered as treating under the Election Offences Act, the Election Commission said.

EC deputy chief Azmi Sharom, however, said Teo's actions fall in a legal gray area, as the law doesn't clearly define what "before" an election means.

"This activity can be considered treating. Section 8 of the Election Offences Act says you can't treat before, during, and after an election.

"The issue here is whether it's 'before' because it is not defined," Azmi said at a press conference in Rantau today.

Teo had handed out the food coupons, worth RM75,000 in total, to 300 school children in Rantau on Thursday.

Electoral watchdog Bersih said this should be considered an election offence.

Azmi said while the EC can't make a ruling, he said UK courts have determined that any period when an election is imminent, should be subject to the laws.

As such, he urged those who believe an offence had been committed, to lodge a police report over the matter.

Meanwhile, on reports that Negeri Sembilan government official vehicles were spotted near the nomination centre, Azmi said this may not necessarily be an offence.

This is because some official cars can be used for personal use.

"So this may be considered as personal use," he said.

Several media reported today that vehicles bearing the seal of Negeri Sembilan exco members, as well as the state assembly speaker, were seen alongside those of Pakatan Harapan leaders.

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