Walkabouts don’t need permits, AG tells police

Attorney General of Malaysia Tan Sri Tommy Thomas is seen during SRC Trial at Kuala Lumpur High Court October 22,2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Attorney General of Malaysia Tan Sri Tommy Thomas is seen during SRC Trial at Kuala Lumpur High Court October 22,2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 — The Election Offences Act does not require candidates to obtain police permits for walkabouts and house-to-house visits, Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas clarified today.

He said the section of the law that the police cited when requiring Tanjung Piai by-election candidates to obtain such permits was not applicable to such activities.

“With respect, this provision does not expressly refer to walkabouts and door-to-door campaigning. The words used in the provision cannot, under any circumstances, be interpreted to extend to walkabouts and door-to-door campaigning.

“The historical fact is that since 1955, these methods of appealing to the electorate are the ones most popularly used by candidates of all political parties, and without the need for such permits,” Thomas said in a statement.

The AG’s remarks bring clarity to the controversy caused when the police began requiring candidates to obtain permits for the minor campaigning activities for the Tanjung Piai by-election.

Yesterday, Johor Police Chief Datuk Mohd Kamarudin Md Din claimed the new ruling requiring permits for walkabouts and door-to-door campaigning for the Tanjung Piai by-election was to ensure security and prevent clashes between supporters of rival candidates.

The requirement was unprecedented and invited suspicion as well as allegations of malice against the Pakatan Harapan government.

The Tanjung Piai poll will a six-way contest between PH’s Karmaine Sardini, BN’s Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng, Gerakan’s Wendy Subramaniam, Berjasa’s Datuk Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz, and two independent candidates Ang Chuan Lock and Faridah Aryani Abdul Ghaffar.

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