Heavy police presence in KT because of past election violence, says IGP

By Adib Zalkapli, The Malaysian Insider

The Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said the heavy police presence for the by-election here is necessary as Kuala Terengganu has a history of election violence.

"We don't want rioting, stopping of buses, smashing of police cars to happen here," said Musa referring to the incident that happened in the last general when busses were stopped from entering the district, as they were suspected to be ferrying phantom voters.

"When there is no police, people complain, but when we deploy, they say it's too many," said Musa after attending a briefing by Terengganu police chief Datuk Shukri Dahlan.

Today DAP Parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang questioned the move by the police to deploy a high number of personnel for the by-election, saying that it is an abuse of power.

"This is why the police arrest of five members of Parti Keadilan Rakyat youth wing, including the Terengganu Youth chief Faris Musa, is a matter of grave concern," said Lim in a statement.

"Is this already proof of police double standards in the Kuala Terengganu by-election?" he asked.

Some 3,800 police personnel are being deployed in the constituency of 80,000 voters.

"Is 3,800 too many? There are 143 polling centres, we cannot just place one or two men in each centre," said Musa.

He also gave an assurance that there will be no shortage of police personnel in other districts due to the large deployment in Kuala Terengganu.

"We have our way of planning," he said.

The police has also setup four tactical centres in every state constituency in Kuala Terengganu to coordinate its work.

The centres said Musa allow the people to have direct access to the police and police reports can be lodged at the centres.

Musa also reminded all political parties to apply for police permits 24 hours before organising any ceramah, adding that the move is to ensure order and stability during the by-election.

"Do not apply too late, as we need time to study the suitability of the ceramah venue," he said.