Nov 09, Colombo: The All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC), the Muslim party led by Minister Rishad Bathiudeen warned that a fraudulent vote buying with cash is being planned in the North to defeat the presidential candidate of the ruling alliance Sajith Premadasa.
The ACMC has pledged its support to Presidential candidate of the UNP led New Democratic Front (NDF) alliance Sajith Premadasa in the forthcoming Presidential election.
The ACMC leader addressing a NDF rally in support of Premadasa held at Mannar Sports Grounds on Friday (08) cautioned voters not to 'sell their votes for a few extra rupees.'
"We have been informed that in the coming days organized vote buying will take place in Mannar area to defeat Sajith Premadasa and us. Do not be deceived by a few extra rupees" an ACMC press communiqué quoted Minister Bathiudeen as saying.
Minister Bathiudeen was joined by NDF Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa and Leader of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Rauff Hakeem at the rally.
Speaking further Minister Bathiudeen said the forthcoming Presidential Election is not a regular Presidential Election but one that will be very decisive for Sri Lanka's future. "The 'freedom' or 'slavery' of Sri Lankan minority communities will be decided based on the outcome of this election," he said.
"Therefore your vote needs to be cast very carefully. It is very important that we should be united. The Tamil speaking parties and minority parties are united in their support for NDF candidate Sajith Premadasa in order to safeguard them against an oppressive tyranny that will enslave them. Our effort is to stand together to preserve our human dignity and stand against oppression of minorities of our own country. The forces that attacked minorities, minority leadership, minority businesses and trade and wanted anarchy here since the end of war have now banded together with the opposition Presidential candidate to enslave us. They are getting together with a view of enslaving the minorities. These racist elements should be defeated. Therefore your duty in this is to vote for Sajith Premadasa on 16 November."
"Offer your prayers first on 16 November morning then be at the polling booth by 7am to cast your vote for Sajith Premadasa. Do not neglect or ignore your voting power. This challenge is not about two opposition Presidential candidates but about anarchy in our country and enslaving of minorities versus Sri Lanka's democracy and justice. We should emerge from this challenge safeguarding our livelihoods, economy, our rights-this is our own country and we should not let anyone enslave us in our own country. The way to defeat such racist forces is to stand united as minorities. We should show that the minority voice needs to be respected when choosing the President of our country. We have been informed that in the coming days organized vote buying will take place in Mannar area to defeat Sajith Premadasa and us. Some wealthy persons in this area are preparing to hand out cash to buy your votes in favor of opposition candidate. Do not be deceived by a few extra rupees and do not sell your votes but cast your vote to bring the largest number of votes from Mannar for Sajith Premadasa's win."
The ACMC communiqué noted that vote buying is illegal and a fraudulent practice in Sri Lanka. Section 66.(d) of Presidential Elections Act No. 15 of 1981 stipulates that any person "who sells or offers to sell any ballot paper to any person or purchases or offers" shall be guilty of "an offence and on conviction by the High Court, be liable to imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding two years and shall, by conviction, become incapable, for a period of seven years from the date of his conviction, of being registered as an elector or of voting at an electionů"