Name-calling, vandalism among violations being probed by police as Malaysia GE15 campaign heats up
KUALA LUMPUR: Name calling, intimidation and vandalism involving campaign materials are some of the cases being investigated by the police as candidates and parties contesting in the 15th General Election (GE15) step up their campaigning.
In Johor, a man made a police report claiming that a political party division committee member called him a "biawak" (monitor lizard). The suspect allegedly threatened to beat up the man if they cross paths again.
Director of the General Election Operations division at the police headquarters in Bukit Aman, Commissioner Hazani Ghazali cited the incident as one of the cases of campaigning violations involving candidates and parties participating in GE15.
The Star quoted Mr Hazani as saying that the case has been classified under criminal intimidation, although the suspect concerned has since come forward to deny the allegations against him.
Meanwhile, in Penang, police have opened investigations after a man claiming to be a gangster created a ruckus at the Bukit Bendera Barisan Nasional (BN) operations room.
"The police report claims that the suspect said all campaign flags must be placed through him and he must receive payment,” said Mr Hazani.
The suspect also threatened to cause disturbances in the area if the campaign staff did not pay up, said Mr Hazani, adding that the case was being investigated as an extortion case.
The Star quoted him as saying that at least 10 cases of vandalism involving campaign materials such as torn and damaged posters, banners and flags were reported in various states as well as in Kuala Lumpur, Sabah and Sarawak.
He also said that police have opened 22 investigation papers and arrested four suspects for holding talks without valid permits.
"We arrested one suspect in Penang and Kelantan while two others were arrested in Johor," he said, adding that 177 talks were held without proper permits on Tuesday.
He said Negeri Sembilan was the state with the highest number of rallies without permits, with 39 recorded there.
Other states such as Perak and Selangor also reported a high number of cases where rallies were conducted without permits.
Overall, there were more than 3,400 campaigning rallies that were held with valid permits, with states such as Sabah having the highest with more than 600 rallies with permits.
Johor and Perak also recorded a high number of more than 400 rallies held with permits.
On Oct 20, Malaysia’s king Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah issued a statement urging all candidates and party supporters to be “civil” during the GE15 campaigning period which began on Nomination Day last Saturday.
The ruler advised candidates to avoid provocation and to adhere to the laws and rules stipulated by the authorities, particularly the Election Commission (EC) and police.
On Nomination Day, Malaysian media reported that anti-riot personnel were forced to fire tear gas after a commotion caused by a rowdy group of supporters at the Tenom nomination centre in Sabah.
Mr Hazani said that tear gas was fired to disperse the crowd and that no reports of injury were received.
Campaigning in GE15 is picking up momentum as many candidates making their rounds in various constituencies in Peninsula Malaysia as well as in Sabah and Sarawak.
More than 21 million voters are expected to cast their ballots on Polling Day on Nov 19, while early voting will be on Nov 15.