SEMENYIH, March 2 — Any form of banners or visuals or even sounds teasing or chastising the opponents is considered a provocation by the Election Commission (EC) and must stop forthwith, said its chairman Azhar Harun.
He said while he had not received a report on an alleged commotion over a banner featuring Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor at the Batu Sesapan Rembau polling centre for the Semenyih by-election this morning, such acts of provocation must cease.
“We haven’t received a report about this but if true that’s considered provocation and bad-mouthing,” he told reporters when met at the Sekolah Menengah Bandar Rinching polling centre.
“I hope they will stop these kind of activities as it’ll disturb the peace.”
Tempers flared at about 11.30am when the banner featuring the wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak with the caption, “Siapa boss? Aku lah boss. Ingat Najib ke? (Who is the boss? I am the boss. Thought it’s Najib?)” was strung up near the polling centre.
BN supporters had alleged that the banner was put up by PH and confronted its supporters.
Another contentious issue in the by-election is the existence of “pondok-panas”, booths opened by political parties near polling centres. Azhar said these booths could be used for people to rest but if anyone uses them to canvas for votes, it will be an offence.
“These pondok panas aren’t allowed unless it’s a rest stop without any campaigning activities going on,” said Azhar.
“There are many reports of these places being used in the wrong way and we have instructed the authorities to go around checking and to stop any illegal activities. Also they must be at least 50 metres from the voting place.”
Meanwhile, Azhar said it was not wrong for any ministers or politicians from visiting the constituency today.
“We can’t stop them from meeting the public and shaking hands with them. If they try to garner votes only then is it wrong,” said Azhar.
The by-election for the state seat will see a four-cornered contest involving Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) Muhammad Aiman Zainali, Zakaria Hanafi (Barisan Nasional), Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul (Parti Sosialis Malaysia) and Independent, Kuan Chee Heng.
The seat fell vacant following the death of its incumbent assemblyman, Bakhtiar Mohd Nor, 57, from PH, on January 11 due to a heart attack.