I have routinely done this every year since 2006
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) is tracing allegations of money politics at a mosque in Sumenep, East Java, allegedly conducted by a member of the House of Representatives from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) Party, Said Abdullah.

"After the news spread, we checked with the Sumenep Bawaslu, and we asked them to investigate the case," Head of Bawaslu Rahmat Bagja stated in Jakarta, Monday.

He noted that all activities related to practical politics at places of worship were prohibited.

The alleged practice of money politics was earlier known through a video uploaded by a Twitter account with the username @PartaiSocmed. The video showed the distribution of envelopes with the PDIP Party logo containing Rp300 thousand in cash with the caption, "From now on, we promise to be diligent in tarawih in Sumenep."

Abdullah denied accusations that he and members of the PDIP Party in Sumenep had conducted money politics at the Abdullah Sychan Baghraf Mosque.

"I need to be clear regarding this matter. Every recess, I receive recess money as a member of DPR. I will distribute the money fully to the people in the form of basic food assistance and that is part of the public accountability that I have to do," he affirmed.

In addition, Abdullah emphasized that as a Muslim, he has an obligation to tithe. Therefore, he fulfilled his responsibility with cadres of the PDIP Party throughout Madura, with village heads as well.

"(It is) because village heads should have known which residents need the assistance," he remarked.

He explained that assistance, in the form of 175 thousand packages of basic necessities, was not sufficient as compared to the number of poor households in Madura. This was his explanation for handing out money in envelopes bearing the PDIP Party logo.

"I intended (to hand out) the money to be my responsibility as a Muslim to tithe. I have routinely done this every year since 2006," he stated.

Abdullah also clarified the reason for using envelopes bearing the PDIP Party logo. He said that the use of the logo was motivated by party cadres, who worked together in this activity.

“We carried out this activity outside the campaign period that is regulated by the General Elections Commission (KPU). I understand that we have to obey the regulation," he noted.

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Translator: Tri Meilani A, Resinta S
Editor: Sri Haryati
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