Kedah Umno youth leader defends Akmal's 'duit raya' handouts to police

ALOR STAR: An Umno youth leader has defended the party's youth chief Dr Akmal Saleh against criticism for distributing "duit raya" to police personnel in Merlimau.

Pokok Sena Umno youth chief Mohd Farhan Ahmad said that Akmal was simply upholding tradition, which embodies community spirit rather than criminality.

He stressed that the action reflects the values entrenched in Malay customs and the guidelines of the Public Service Circular No. 3 of 1998.

"This circular, while rightly guarding against corruption, does not diminish the cultural significance of 'duit raya' – a gesture of goodwill extended during the festive season as a token of respect and appreciation.

"These contributions are made openly, capturing the essence of Hari Raya and illustrating the permissible nature of cultural expressions of gratitude within our regulations.

"These gestures, in line with the guidelines of the circular, should not be misunderstood as improper acts," he said in a statement today.

He said gifts awarded resonate with societal values, where leaders and public servants come together in mutual respect and celebration.

He cited past instances of leaders giving contributions, including a shared festive meal and duit raya by DAP Seputeh member of parliament Teresa Kok.

"They were not done in secret or with any expectation of reciprocal favours, but rather, they were offered in the spirit of the season— acknowledging the hard work and dedication of our police officers who serve during a time when many of us are with our loved ones," he added.

Farhan said that Malaysian society must not lose sight of the distinction between an act of gratitude and one of influence.

"The former enhances the bonds within our community, while the latter would seek to undermine the integrity of our public institutions— a line that our community leaders have shown understanding and respect for," he added.

Hence, Farhan again highlighted for the continuation of such traditions, which are carried out with a clear understanding of both cultural significance and legal boundaries.

"Let us then embrace these gestures as what they truly are. They are symbols of a community united in gratitude, upholding the true meaning of giving, and maintaining the utmost respect for the laws that govern us," he added.

On Friday, Akmal defended giving out 'duit raya' to police personnel, following criticism sparked by a TikTok video he posted.

Akmal said that this was a personal tradition for him during Ramadan, aimed at expressing gratitude to the police force and civil service for their dedicated service.

On Feb 8, the media reported that Inspector-General of Police Razarudin Husain said it's an offence for his men to receive money packets or ang pow while on duty.

He said that the act of receiving cash while on duty is wrong as its source can be questioned and construed as an element of corruption.

However, they are allowed to receive it from friends and families during the festive season when off duty.

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