PETALING JAYA, Nov 13 — The police’s new ruling requiring permits for walkabouts and door-to-door campaigning for the Tanjung Piai by-election is to ensure security and prevent clashes between supporters of rival candidates, Johor police clarified today.
Johor Police Chief Datuk Mohd Kamarudin Md Din said the issuance of the permit was in accordance to Section 24(b) of the Election Offences Act whereby any form of campaigning must obtain a permit from the police officer in charge of the district (OCPD).
“It does not matter what are the mode of campaigning, all that matters is that they must have a permit that the police issues in order to facilitate our job in monitoring and maintaining peace.
“There have been incidents where provocations took place whenever opposing supporters met in the past campaigning period,” he told a press conference in Johor.
He said following a discussion with the EC, the police included additional permit conditions under Section 14 of the Peaceful Assembly Act whereby the OCPD may impose restrictions and conditions on an assembly for the purpose of security or public order.
A copy of the recording was made available to Malay Mail earlier today.
Yesterday, Election Commission (EC) chairman Datuk Azhar Harun hit out at the Opposition, saying they had acted in bad faith by blaming the EC for the police’s new ruling.
Azhar said it was not within the jurisdiction of the EC to issue permits or to impose requirements for permits as it is the police’s jurisdiction and power to do so.
Earlier today, Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan claimed the abrupt ruling causes difficulty for by-election campaigners and urged the police to review their decision as there are only three days of campaigning left before polling day this Saturday.
Mohd Kamarudin also pointed out that the police have never rejected any permit applications made by any candidates to date, further stating that there was never an issue of door-to-door campaigning as the police only wanted campaign organisers to list down the place and time when their candidate will be making their rounds.
Asked on the permit’s application process, Mohd Kamarudin said it was a simple process whereby an applicant only needed to fill up around 12 sections in a form including personal details such as name, identification number and contact.
Mohd Kamarudin said he hoped the permit application issues do not continued to be dragged on as the authorities only wanted to know the location and time of these moving campaigns for security purposes.
“Our only aim is to ensure no incidents of altercation between rival political parties or candidates should they bump into one another and jeopardise public security.
“I hope today’s explanation would provide much understanding to all,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mohd Kamarudin said the police have issued 562 permits to candidates contesting in the Tanjung Piai by-election to date.
The breakdown is as follows — PH (124), Barisan Nasional (304), Gerakan (115), Berjasa (8) and independent (11).
He also expressed thanks on behalf of the police force to all contesting candidates for conducting their by-election campaigns in an orderly manner without any untoward incidents.
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