KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — Putrajaya Corporation (PPj) is allowing political parties to put up their flags and banners in the federal administrative capital ahead of the 14th general election, although their display contravenes local council bylaws.
Its president Datuk Seri Hasim Ismail conceded that PPj’s bylaws forbid displays of political party flags and banners in public spaces before the election campaign period, but said the decision was made on a discretionary basis and that there were conditions attached.
“That is more to discretion. To me, it’s really not much of an issue,” he told Malay Mail when asked if the current displays of political party flags and banners in Putrajaya were in violation of PPj’s bylaws.
“The whole Malaysia is like that now. Everyone now is already in the election mode. The entire nation. Not just in Putrajaya,” he said, adding that it would be very hard to stop political parties from doing so now.
Hasim did not reply when asked if the flags had permits.
Those who wish to put up any advertisement in Putrajaya must first apply for a licence from PPj and abide by its rules and regulations, namely the Parks (Federal Territory of Putrajaya) By-Laws 2002, the Vandalism (Federal Territory of Putrajaya) By-laws 2003, and Advertisements (Federal Territory of Putrajaya) By-Laws 2002, under the Local Government Act 1976.
The election campaigning period officially starts from nomination day onwards and must end by midnight on the eve of polling day, according to the Election Commission’s (EC) rules.
However, the EC has said it has no power to act against political parties or individuals who put them up beforehand, adding that such matters were under the jurisdiction of the respective local councils.
“It’s just about OK, whoever wants to put it up, OK do it,” Hasim said, adding that the relaxation of the local council’s bylaws was unlikely to make much difference to political parties, which were already in election mode.
“But they have to follow certain ways,” he said.
Hasim said that those putting up political flags and banners must ensure they do not endanger the public or block the flow of traffic. These two aspects, he said, are “very, very, important”.
“Other than that, not much of a problem,” he said.
Malay Mail noticed several political party flags prominently displayed in several areas throughout the Klang Valley as well as in smaller towns and districts in other states nationwide, even though Parliament has yet to be dissolved and the election date yet to be announced.
Putrajaya was also not spared, with Barisan Nasional flags the most often seen throughout the federal administrative district.