KUALA TERENGGANU, 6 Jan 2009: The Election Commission (EC) has set up two enforcement teams to ensure election regulations are strictly followed during campaigning for the Kuala Terengganu by-election.
EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said each of the teams has an EC officer, a police officer, a local authority representative and representatives of the contesting candidates.
He said the teams are empowered to act if candidates or their agents were found to have violated the Election Offences Act 1954 and code of conduct for campaigning like resorting to personal attacks, touching on sensitive issues involving race, religion or royalty or defacing or stringing up campaign posters in prohibited places.
“I wish to stress here, if the teams take action, do not get angry. They have the responsibility to ensure campaigning takes place smoothly and fairly and no posters that can cause tension are put up anywhere in this city,” he told Bernama when met after the nomination process for the by-election at Stadium Negeri here today.
On a related matter, he said police had given the assurance that applications by parties or candidates to hold rallies would be approved provided conditions needed were met.
“They want rallies or gatherings to be held in orderly manner and not be held in places where they can disrupt public order. They will be very accommodating,” he said.
On the nomination process today, Wan Ahmad said it went very well.
“We took various improvement measures to ensure it went about smoothly based on our experience in the previous by-election in Permatang Pauh (held last August),” he said.
The by-election scheduled for 17 Jan will see a three-corner fight involving candidates from the BN, PAS and an independent.
The BN is fielding Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh who will be challenged by PAS’ Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut and independent candidate Azharudin Mamat @ Adam.
The by-election is necessitated by the death of Kuala Terengganu MP Datuk Razali Ismail, who was Deputy Education Minister, on 28 Nov. Razali won by a 628-vote majority in last March’s election.