Hadi faces more criticism, this time from the graft-busting chief

PAS leader Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang drew more flak following his comments that “electoral bribes” are actually “charity”. This time, it is the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki who said he will investigate any form of bribery based on the law.

Azam added a bribe was a bribe, regardless of how one chose to describe it, as the law clearly defined what constituted vote buying.

“Section 10(a) of the Elections Offences Act 1954 is very clear, and whatever layman terms used to defend an argument are mere personal interpretations.

“Name it ‘sedekah’ (almsgiving) or ‘contribution’, the law deems it a bribe paid to voters, regardless of whether the voters solicit it or not,” The Star reported him as saying.

Hadi has been under fire since last week after he tried to defend the actions of apparent PAS members who gave cash to potential voters, urging them to take an oath that they would vote for PAS if they agreed to take the cash handout.

A video of a man giving out money to various members of the public while wearing a skull cap went viral on Facebook and Twitter. He is heard instructing the recipients of the money that they should vote PAS after receiving the money, leading some to speculate that he was a member or supporter of the PAS.

Section 10(a) of the Elections Offences Act 1954 pertains to acts of bribery committed before, during, and after elections, directly or indirectly, by a candidate himself or by a representative on his behalf.

MACC will probably start its investigations based on petitions filed by Terengganu UMNO to nullify the results of the 15th General Election (GE15) in three constituencies in the east coast state.

Yesterday (Jan 23), UMNO veteran Secretary General Datuk Mustapha Yaakub chastised the PAS leader for labelling money given to the public during an election campaign as “charity.”

Describing Hadi’s latest statement as not surprising, Mustapha said the PAS president may have found an argument to legitimise handing money to voters.

Last night, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim slammed those who justified cash handouts during elections by calling them donations, calling them a form of corruption.

While he did not name anyone, his remarks followed a recent statement by the PAS president in response to Terengganu UMNO’s petition to annul the results of the GE15 in three constituencies in the east coast state. — Jan 24, 2023

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