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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Don’t let ‘duit raya’ influence your vote, says Bersih 2.0

Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah advises voters to take any cash gift from state and federal governments for festive season but still vote how they want to.
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PETALING JAYA: Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah has cautioned voters against allowing government aid for Hari Raya to affect how they vote in the next general election (GE14).
Earlier this month, Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali announced an Aidilfitri special allowance of two months’ salary for state civil servants payable on June 21.
Prior to that, Prime Minister Najib Razak today announced an incentive of RM500 for each Felda settler family to assist them in celebrating Aidilfitri.
He also announced that Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) will be paying out a dividend of RM280 to each Felda settler.
Speaking to FMT, Maria said there was no way to legitimately link both scenarios with buying votes but voters should remain vigilant nonetheless.
“It’s common for us to receive ang pows during Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, and Deepavali. Only when a dissolution has been announced and all the goodies come in does it fall under election offences, in my opinion.
“Right now, however, you can’t say such cash gifts are an election offence because eventhough we know that elections are coming, they have not officially announced it,” she said.
Maria said because of the high cost of living, it would be unwise for people not to accept government aid merely because they were suspicious of having their votes bought.
“This ‘duit raya’ is to help people, especially during the festive seasons since things have become so expensive.
“My advice for the voters is simple, if the government gives you money then take it unless they explicitly say that it’s for the election or if they ask you for a ‘favour’ in return,” she said.
“Take the money, but don’t let it affect how you vote. Only you have the right to determine how you vote.” -FMT

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