EC: Not True That Mobile Campaign Permit Ruling Introduced Midway

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The directive on police permit for mobile campaigns was made known to those concerned after the close of nominations for the Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election on Nov 2 and was not introduced mid-way in the campaign period, according to the Election Commission (EC).

EC chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said representatives of the candidates did not raise any objection when told of the ruling.

“They did not object, and in fact, after that many came to apply for the permit, which was issued by the police.

“So, it wasn’t introduced in the middle of the campaign at all. It is a lie and I think those who perpetrated that lie did that in bad faith and those people who said that SPR (EC) was the one who came out with that condition, is also doing so in bad faith.

“I don’t understand; I don’t know what the motive is, but it is a lie,” he told reporters after witnessing the process of checking ballot boxes and distributing equipment to heads of polling centres at Dewan Jubli Intan Sultan Ibrahim today.

The requirement for a permit for house-to-house campaigns and walkabouts has become an issue but police have since clarified that it is meant to help police maintain law and order, including preventing fights and other undesirable incidents involving supporters of contesting parties.

However, Attorney-General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas yesterday said a police permit is not required for house-to-house campaigns and walkabouts by candidates and their supporters.

He said there is no clear provision for this under Section 24(B) of the Election Offences Act 1954.

“The AG being the chief legal officer of the government has come out with a guideline and his interpretation of the law, and personally, yes, we agree with his advice as such. His interpretation of the law is correct…i.e. no necessity for a permit for walkabouts or house-to-house visits,” Azhar said.