Allegations of vote-buying and electoral irregularities, including names missing from the electoral roll, intensified as the Permatang Pauh by-election campaign entered its final lap.
This afternoon, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Dr Ng Yen Yen openly handed out envelopes containing RM200 to 156 Chinese elderly at a function in Permatang Pauh.
Strangely, all of the beneficiaries were required to fill up a form, submit a photocopy of their identify card and had the thumb prints taken three times on a form.
Also present at the function was Ng's deputy Noriah Kasnon.
When asked later, Ng - who is also MCA Wanita chief - denied the money she gave was a form of bribery. Neither was it a form of election goodies , she stressed.
She said the money was given out by the National Welfare Foundation, a government-linked non-profit organisation she heads.
Goodies from MIC, PKR too
According to her, it was a mere coincidence that the financial aid came in at the sensitive time of the by-election. She added that it was an annual activity organised by the foundation.
Nevertheless, Ng called on those present to support the BN as she emphasised that the ruling coalition was a government which took care of everyone.
Next to Ng's function was a MIC function which was attended by the party chief S Samy Vellu.
The former minister also doled out daily necessity items like rice, cooking oil, biscuit and pail to 75 single mothers. It was however not known how much these items cost.
The goodies also poured in from the opposition's camp. At a function in Penanti this afternoon, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail gave out financial aid to a group of single mothers.
It was however not immediately clear on the amount she gave and the number of beneficiaries.
The money were given out under her capacity as the chairperson of the Aman Foundation.
Wan Azizah's husband, PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim faces BN's Arif Shah Omar Shah and Akim president Hanafi Hamat in a three-way fight for the Aug 26 poll.
Meanwhile, PKR information chief Tian Chua ‘revealed' an alleged plot by its rival to reduce Anwar's majority votes. Anwar is generally seen as the favourite winner for the seat.
At a daily press conference today, Chua claimed that the PKR detected alleged vote-buying attempt after they received tip-off and traced the movement of a "Chinese-based party agent".
He alleged that the agent collected the names from voters and told them they will be given RM200 each if Anwar's majority-vote was under 10,000.
If the PKR supremo obtained less than 5,000 majority or be defeated in the by-election, then these ‘registered' voters will get RM500 and RM1,000 respectively.
Chua, who is also the Batu MP, showed a list of these ‘registered' voters, which his party had obtained. One of the list contained at least 200 names.
He said the party could not lodge a complaint as yet because there was no money transaction yet, as the ‘deal' would only be done after the by-election result was announced.
At the same venue, PKR Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh said the party has found that 949 names were removed from the electoral roll, updated on July 31, which will be used for the by-election.
However, out of this, 868 were found to be in the dark as to the removal of their names from the electoral roll as they are still staying within the constituency.
As the 868 names were removed, Fuziah claimed that 861 new voters were registered and out of this number, half were postal voters.
PKR vice-president R Sivarasa said this ‘modification' on the electoral roll will affect about 2,000 votes. He added that a complaint has been lodged on this but yet to receive any response.
There are a total of 58,459 eligible voters in Permatang Pauh. In the March election, Wan Azizah defended the seat with a thumping 13,398-majority votes.