No limit on supporters in Penanti, says polls panel

(The Star) – The Election Commission will go ahead with its ban on stands put up by political parties (pondok panas) on polling day for the Penanti by-election.

However, the commission has decided not to limit the number of supporters on nomination and polling days.

Commission deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the decision was made after meeting Bukit Aman officers on Thursday.

“We will not restrict the supporters as long as they are not within 50m of the voting place because it is a public area. If they want to come, make sure it is not for campaigning,” said Wan Ahmad in an interview with MStar Online.

He said the ban on pondok panas was to prevent the parties from turning the polling area it into a last-minute campaign field.

“Those who disobey the rule will face police action,” he said.

On Thursday, a meeting was held between the commission and the police on the ground rules.

Police will enforce the new regulations.

On Pakatan Rakyat’s intention to meet with the commission next Wednesday, Wan Ahmad said the commission had no problems meeting with the coalition.

“However, the decision to impose the ban (on pondok panas) is final,” said Wan Ahmad.