Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Jeffrey claims BN feels heat, widespread cash handouts


Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, who is contesting Keningau parliamentary and Bingkor state seats, yesterday said the Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders and candidates are feeling the pressure from the opposition, particularly the PKR. He said reports reaching him from the ground indicated many BN leaders have to resort an “inducement” in order to attract crowds to attend their meet-the- people gatherings. He alleged that the distribution of financial assistance to students under the Kumpulan Amanah Pelajar Termiskin (Poor Students Trust Fund) throughout Sabah is an inducement to fish for votes from the people. Parents from across the State such as in Kota Marudu, Kota Belud, Tuaran, Ranau and Inanam were invited to attend such functions, which were actually political gatherings, he said. “Why the Ministry of Education cannot wait until the election is over to do the distribution of whatever cash and why identified PKR supporters are not given the so— called assistance?” Jeffrey asked. In view of this, he urged the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) to monitor and investigate reports of alleged cash distribution in Sabah ahead of Saturday’s general election. He claimed that parents of schoolchildren in many constituencies were given hard cash. Jeffrey also claimed that he has been informed by PKR supporters that “other kind of bribing are taking place”. He urged the Election Commission to establish enforcement teams to monitor activities of all candidates in the election. “I’m making this call because so-called house-to-house campaigns is being used as an opportunity to distribute cash,” he said. “The Election Commission ought to enforce the law to prevent corruption during this election.” Jeffrey pointed out that Section 27B of the Election Offences Act 1958 states that “The Election Commission may, if the Commission considers it necessary, to establish an enforcement team or any number of enforcement teams for the purpose of monitoring and controlling the activities of candidates during the campaign period until the expiry of the polling day.” He urged all PKR officials at the grassroots level to make police reports if they find any evidence of candidates resorting to bribery in gaining support and votes from the people. “It is very important to gather all information about bribery in this election so that the PKR team of lawyers could prepare papers to be filed in courts after the election. If no report is lodged, the relevant authorities will not be able to do anything. PKR must cooperate with the relevant authorities to do investigation on corruption because one of the PKR objectives is to provide a clean government,” he said. Commenting on Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin’s recent call in Ranau for the State Government to review provision on land law that prohibits any form of agricultural activities or development on land with a gradient of 25 degrees, Jeffrey said that this concern shows that under the BN Government, important policies affecting the livelihood of the people are not even discussed by the State Cabinet. “Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin holds a very important post both in UPKO and in the State Cabinet. How is it that he needs to make this an election issue?” Jeffrey asked. Jeffrey said that if the PKR wins the election and form the next State Government, it will revise the land ordinance. “This is to ensure the problem faced by locals will be solved promptly and they need not wait for years to get their land deeds,” he said.