Muhammad Sanusi is being accused of breaking the law amidst the six state elections happening today.
Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) election director Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor has been accused of showing off his ballot paper to the media before casting it in the ballot box.
The claim surfaced on social media this afternoon.
It was earlier reported that Muhammad Sanusi of PAS, who is defending his Jeneri state seat, cast his vote at the SK Bandar Baru, Beris Jaya.
Screenshots of him allegedly displaying the ballot paper to members of the press are being shared on social media.
We found a video of Muhammad Sanusi at the voting centre on Twitter and in the video, it showed him holding up the ballot paper for people to see before putting it into the box.
He had actually already folded the paper, but it looked like he was posing for the cameras and took to unfolding the ballot paper to show it off.
Naturally social media went wild with criticism.
According to Sinar Harian, Muhammad Sanusi is being accused of breaching the Election Offences Act 1954.
Section (5) Article (39) says no elector who has voted at any elections shall, in any proceeding to question the election, be required to state for whom he has voted. Sinar Harian said a conviction of this violation carries a maximum one year jail sentence or up to RM3,000 fine, or both.
Has this happened before?
It is unclear if what Muhammad Sanusi did can be considered a breach of Article (39). This is because the provision deals with a person not being required to state who they voted for. It does not specifically mention someone volunteering the information of who they voted for.
In 2019, Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan was in a similar predicament. He was photographed displaying his ballot paper before putting it in the box during the Rantau state seat by-election.
While Bersih at the time demanded for action to be taken against Mohamad for doing so, he maintained that he did not do anything wrong and left it for the Election Commission (EC) to decide on the matter.
“It was my ballot paper, up to me to show it. As long as I didn’t take it (ballot paper) out,” he had said.
In an immediate reaction to what happened, the EC chairman at the time Azhar Azizan Harun had also been left baffled if the act was against the law, saying he had to look into it a bit more.
We were unable to find any report of Mohamad being charged with breaching Article (39) of the Election Offences Act 1954. He went on to win the Rantau by-election.