Police empowered to remove pro-Anwar billboards, deputy minister insists

Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed says billboards with political overtones may only be put up during elections, and even then, there are rules on what may or may not be displayed. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa\
Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed says billboards with political overtones may only be put up during elections, and even then, there are rules on what may or may not be displayed. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa\

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 — Police are authorised to remove billboards with political content even if these are approved by local councils, according to Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

He said billboards with political overtones may only be put up during elections, and even then, there were rules on what may or may not be displayed.

“Political billboards like these cannot be issued by local councils,” Nur Jazlan told reporters at the Dewan Rakyat lobby.

“Why should local councils be involved in politics? That is why the police would get involved, if they deem it is inappropriate.”

Video footage surfaced yesterday of police officers taking down billboards touting “Bebas Anwar” (Free Anwar) in Selangor.

The police have yet to issue a statement on the action, but Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said on Saturday that the words on the billboards describing jailed former Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as a “tahanan politik (political prisoner)” could be considered seditious and confuse the people.

The IGP then asked the local government authorities to remove the displays.

Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, who is also PKR deputy president, reportedly insisted that the advertisements were legal and that he did not see any reason to remove them.

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