Kelantan caretaker govt to proceed with free bus rides for voters

The Kelantan caretaker government will proceed with free bus rides for students returning home to vote on Aug 12, despite concerns raised by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

(FMT) – Caretaker menteri besar Ahmad Yakob stressed that providing the free bus rides is not an attempt to buy votes, but the state’s responsibility to help students who lack funds to return to cast their ballots.

“The Kelantan (caretaker) government will not cancel the free bus services because we’ve already made a promise to the people,” he told reporters after a ceramah in Kelantan last night.

Last week, MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki advised against the idea of offering free bus rides for voters to return home.

He said free bus rides offered by candidates or political parties would raise questions, adding that “things could happen on the bus which we wouldn’t know about”.

Ahmad questioned the double standards on the provision of free bus services compared to deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s offer of grants to Terengganu youths.

“If Zahid’s offer is not considered as bribery, then what actually qualifies as bribery?” he said.

Announcing grants for Terengganu youths on Friday, Zahid urged them to vote for the “blue and red wave” in the state elections.

He also said the amount allocated may be increased depending on the results of the polls.

However, Azam said on Sunday the announcement was above board. “If the allocations were approved by the federal government, then there is no element of bribery,” he said.

Azam also said yesterday MACC had no plans to introduce new guidelines on the Do’s and Don’ts during the elections, when responding on a suggestion by PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man to come up with clear guidelines of what constituted bribery during an election.

He said the guidelines were already spelled out clearly in the Election Offences Act 1954, which candidates and their agents must understand and comply with.