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Police presence at by-elections essential

KUALA LUMPUR, 23 April 2009: Police will be deployed in every general election or by-election to ensure law and order, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said today.

“Peace and security will not be compromised. Until the Election Commission amends the laws, deployment of personnel will be tailored to the needs.

“It is the duty of the police to ensure law and order throughout the nation at all times. This is specially so during any by-election or general election,” Musa said in reference to a report by Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) published in the Sun today.

In a preliminary report on the three by-elections held on 7 April, Mafrel chairperson Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said their observers had noted that the people were wary about the unjustified mobilisation of police personnel.

Musa said a by-election was not simply about nomination day and polling day but involved political rallies, related events and meetings held during this period where provocative words used could stir up emotions, leading to tensions.

Therefore, it was essential that the police were at all key events to ensure that they are conducted without disruption and peacefully.

“Adequate police presence is necessary to ensure that rallies and gatherings do not degenerate into potentially chaotic situations that could put lives at risk,” he said in a statement.

He added that in determining the level of police presence at various by-election events, the police took into consideration various factors such as the political sensitivity, the size of the crowds and the security situation.

“We feel that the expenditure incurred is justified, given the circumstances of the time, and we note that the three by-elections were conducted smoothly and peacefully,” he said. — Bernama


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