KUALA LUMPUR – The police say they have never rejected any application for the holding of political ‘ceramah’ (talks) for the 15th general election (GE15), but there have been cases of some of these gatherings being held without a police permit.
Royal Malaysia Police GE15 operations director Datuk Seri Hazani Ghazali was very clear on the matter.
“The police have never rejected applications from any party for the (ceramah) permits. In fact, they can apply as usual,” said the director of the Department of Internal Security and Public Order at Bukit Aman.
He said the police did not impose any restriction on the political parties in the application of these permits to hold their talks.
“There have been requests from all the states involved in GE15 for the permits, and there is no problem (in the matter of permit applications),” he said.
Asked for a reason for the holding of the so-called illegal ceramah, Hazani said some political parties might have wanted to hold the talks in a hurry without having to make the application and wait for the permit.
“They want to hold the ceramah in a hurry, and were found to have ignored the law,” he told Bernama.
The Pakatan Harapan (PH-PKR) candidate for the Tambun Tulang state seat in Perlis, Muhammad Syahmi Suhaimi, when contacted by Bernama, said it was an easy process to obtain the permit.
“The permit is for the authorities to know if all rules are complied with in the holding of the ceramah, for example, matters pertaining to racial and religious issues,” he said.
Muhammad Syahmi said politicians and GE15 candidates in Perlis had been briefed by the police on permit-related matters and that they had to apply for the permit at least two days before the ceramah.
He believes that if a ceramah is held without a permit, it has a direct impact on the candidate and the party itself.
“For example, if the politician violates the conditions of the ceramah and there is a commotion, this will damage the name of the candidate and the party. Additionally, a ceramah held without a permit is more likely to create a community that believes in slander and fraud,” he said.
Muhammad Syahmi said that in the transition to mature politics, all parties must comply with the laws and should refer to the authorities on any matter related to GE15 campaigns and ceramah.
Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) candidate for the Sepang parliamentary seat in Selangor, Datin Paduka Che Asmah Ibrahim, echoed Muhammad Syahmi’s view, saying it is only fair for the authorities to set conditions for ceramah so as to thwart unwanted happenings.
The Pejuanita chief of Pejuang said there could be ‘tense’ moments during a ceramah among political supporters and that the safety of the public was of paramount importance.
Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan, the Pejuang candidate for the Titiwangsa parliamentary seat in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, said that sometimes politicians overlook or forget to secure the permits due to lack of time because of campaigning.
The Federal Territory Pejuang Liaison Committee chairman said that to avoid this he had an administrative team that looked into such matters as permits and approvals.
“This is election season. Many things happen impromptu, and people want to see the candidates in person.
“In any case, political leaders must comply with the legal process because the police are very neutral and efficient,” he said, expressing his appreciation for the police efforts to ensure the safety GE15 candidates on the campaign trail. – Bernama
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