CHERAS, Oct 1 — The police are keeping a close eye on the Pelangai state by-election in Pahang only to ensure public order, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said today.
He dismissed an allegation from the Perikatan Nasional (PN) federal Opposition that the ruling bloc is using the police to impede its election campaigning.
“The police remain professional as the largest enforcement agency in our country. So no need to worry. The presence of the police in the form of omnipresence is important after they assess a situation.
“As long as the parties involved in the election do not raise sensitive sentiments, do not inflame passions that can affect the unity and orderliness of people’s lives, there is no reason for the police to be there,” he told reporters after attending the Home Ministry’s Madani programme at the Bandar Tun Razak Sports Complex here.
Last Friday, PAS secretary-general Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan claimed police officers were following his party’s election campaigners during their walkabouts and other election activities.
PAS is a PN component.
Takiyuddin claimed this hindered the Islamist party’s campaign as the constituents refused to open their doors or talk to PAS members as they were wary of police action.
Saifuddin Nasution said the police have a duty to maintain public order and security.
He reiterated that no one from any party had to fear the police presence as long as they followed the rules and did not touch on sensitive matters.
“What is important is that the opportunity for each party to approach the people during the campaign is not hindered.
“It is the duty of the police to maintain security, and the duty of the party to approach the people. For now there are no reports of a political party being prevented by the police from approaching the people,” he added.
The Pelangai by-election was called following the death of its assemblyman Datuk Seri Johari Harun in a plane crash in Shah Alam, Selangor on August 17.
Polling day is on October 7.