By Debra Chong
KUALA TERENGGANU, Jan 16 — Several newsmen in town to cover the Kuala Terengganu by-election were surprised to receive a mystery “angpow” today, ten days before the Chinese New Year.
White, unmarked envelopes containing RM300 in cash were handed out to some 10 to 13 reporters and photographers this afternoon, while they were working inside the government-provided media centre at Jalan Pejabat, across the road from the state government offices.
A reporter from an Internet-based news organisation who was there told The Malaysian Insider it was not clear who was the source of the mystery money, nor why it was given.
“It happened about 4 o’clock. One of the Jabatan Penerangan officers asked us to write our names, organisation and phone number on a piece of paper,” she said.
“After that, he gave out the envelopes, each containing six RM50 notes and asked us to put our initials next to our names after receiving it.
“He told us: ‘Ah, you keep it-lah’,” she added, declining to name the officer. However, she said he was a familiar figure to the press there.
Several newsmen immediately returned the envelopes with the money inside.
The others said they would be filing a police report on the attempted bribery later today.
This incident on the eve of polling day comes in the wake of several other bribery claims lodged by the Pakatan Rakyat.
The alternative front has accused the ruling coalition of resorting to bribing voters to vote in the Barisan Nasional candidate tomorrow.