by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The Gaya parliamentary by-election is the result of corrupt election practices by the Barisan Nasional candidate in the Likas state assembly seat in breach of the Election Offences Act 1954 in the March 1999 Sabah state elections.
One would have expected that the Barisan Nasional would be extra-careful in the Gaya by-election not to run afoul of the Election Offences Act 1954 and to conduct a squeaky-clean campaign where no one could make any allegations that it had violated the election laws in resorting to improper and unethical practices, whether politics of money or other undue and unlawful influences in the by-election.
But this does not appear to be the case, and DAP lawyers will be instructed to study the Election Offences Act 1954 as to whether the Barisan Nasional had violated the law, in particular with regard to corrupt election practices, which would render the Barisan Nasional by-election campaign unlawful, null and void.
The most blatant case is the announcement of RM13 million for the relocation of squatters of the 1,500 Gaya Island voters whose homes were improperly or “inadvertently” demolished by the state authorities, which would work out to some RM9,000 per voter.
If the Gaya voters are offered RM9,000 each to vote for the Barisan Nasional candidate, it is clearly a corrupt election practice which will render any election of the Barisan Nasional candidate null and void.
If it is wrong to offer RM9,000 each to get votes in a by-election, shouldn’t the offer of RM9,000 each to the voters by the government in order to influence votes for the Barisan Nasional candidate similarly be an unlawful and corrupt election practice, resulting in the disqualification of any person elected as a result of such corrupt electoral practice?
DAP lawyers, in particular DAP Sarawak State Chairman, Wong Ho Leng would also study other aspects of the Election Offences Act 1954 as the Barisan Nasional Gaya by-election campaign appears to have run afoul not only of Part III of the Act on “Corrupt Practices” but also other provisions as to justify invocation of Section 32 on “Avoidance of election on election petition”.
*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman