Kuala Terengganu… Buy-election

An unusual event happened around 8.30pm just now.

The Election Commission (EC) announced that Mat Razali Kassim, the returning officer for the Kuala Terengganu by-election, has stepped down with immediate effect following complaints submitted by PAS that he has campaigned for Barisan Nasional.

The announcement was made in a 5-paragraph notice issued by EC secretary Ngah Senik. He, however, did not specify the reason for Razali's resignation.

Mat Razali, who is also the datuk bandar for Kuala Terengganu, has been replaced by the deputy returning officer, Wan Mustafa Hassan, who is also the city council secretary.

Yesterday, the day I landed in Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu PAS deputy commissioner Wan Mutalib Embong claimed that Mat Razali had abused his position to influence his 500 council staff to vote for BN. Claiming to have proof, PAS has also lodged a report with the Election Commission and the police.

Meanwhile, the PKR Youth wing had also lodged a police report on the matter, claiming that Mat Razali had threatened his staff to vote for BN. This coercive-sounding paragraph was contained in the PKR Youth's report against Mat Razali : "Kalau berani dan tidak takut dibuang kerja, silalah."

Earlier, I had reported in the original posting that Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim had accused BN of vote-buying and coercion as campaigning reached a feverish crescendo with less than 48 hours to voting day.

However, Umno candidate Wan Ahmad Farid rejected the allegations and said the opposition was making excuses to soften the blow of a defeat.

Shortly after, the returning officer resigned from his post.

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