TAIPING, 28 March 2009: The Election Commission (EC) today urged political leaders not to stir up emotions of their supporters during the nomination process tomorrow.
EC chairperson Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said all sides needed to ensure the process proceed in harmony without untoward incidents like what happened during the Permatang Pauh parliamentary and Ijok state seat by-elections.
“Tomorrow is just the nomination day, so don’t do something that can cause disturbance and become too emotional. Usually, the supporters easily become emotional when listening to speeches by their leaders especially in the present political situation.
“We also advise leaders of parties contesting not to bring too many supporters so that we can monitor them better.
“The incidents in Permatang Pauh and Ijok serve as a lesson and make us and the police more prepared,” he told reporters after visiting the nomination centre for the Bukit Gantang parliamentary by-election at the Taiping Municipal Hall.
Nominations for Bukit Gantang are being held on the same day as those of the Bukit Selambau and Batang Air state by-elections. Polling is on 7 April.
Aziz said the EC, with the cooperation from the police, would ensure a buffer zone of at least 60 metres between rival supporters and they were not allowed to bring items that could be used as weapons such as umbrellas, steel and glass bottles.
They also should not shout or provoke each other, he said.
He said the supporters were permitted to bring along their party symbols before the nomination but after the candidates were announced, only the symbols of contesting parties were allowed.
It meant, if the contestants were from Barisan Nasional (BN) and PAS for Bukit Gantang, the symbols of PKR, DAP and parties supporting BN but not members of BN were banned, he said.
“BN component parties are allowed to show their symbols because BN has registered with the Registrar of Societies while Pakatan Rakyat comprising Pas, PKR and DAP has not,” he said.
In Bukit Gantang, Aziz said about 20,000 people were expected to turn up to support their candidates but the EC would only allow 70 representatives from each contestant to enter the compound during the nomination process from 9am to 11am.
He said candidates from BN and PAS and an independent known as Kamarul Ramizu Idris had paid the RM10,000 election and RM5,000 campaign material deposits. — Bernama