Don’t bring up sensitive issues, parties told

(The Star) GEORGE TOWN: All parties must refrain from touching on issues concerning the royalty, religion and race during the campaigning period for the Permatang Pasir by-election, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said.

He said the police would not hesitate to take stern action if anyone was found creating tense situations.

He added that those found creating racial tension would be charged in court.

Hishammuddin said he was concerned that such issues would be brought up during the ceramah.

“It is the responsibility of the candidates, the parties and the machinery to ensure such topics are not raised.

“With the by-election being held during the Ramadan month, I hope all parties especially the Muslims will refrain from bringing up such issues and creating unnecessary tension,” he told a press conference after meeting with the state police contingent at its headquarters here yesterday.

A total of 990 police personnel would be deployed during nomination day tomorrow.

Hishammuddin said if the police force was not enough on that day, the Federal Reserve Unit would be roped in.

“When we place a lot of police personnel there will be remarks about us going overboard, but if untoward incidents arise then they will say that the police force was insufficient.

“So based on our past experience especially in the Permatang Pauh constituency, we are getting ready our logistics and proper plans to ensure that the by-election runs smoothly,” he added.

On the Government’s move to crack down on Internet abusers and its negative effects, Hishammuddin said he would be having a meeting with Information, Communications, and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz together with the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Patail, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission representatives on Wednesday regarding the matter.

“We are given the task on how to settle such issues not only involving individual cases but also to create a template to warn those using the Internet not to insult the royal institution, Islam and other religions.

“We must work closely to find proper ways and channels to curb such seditious remarks posted on the Internet,” he added.

In Jitra, Hishammuddin said that the ministry will increase the safety measures during the campaigning period.

When asked about the effect of Influenza A (H1N1) on the party’s campaign, he said it would be difficult to stop people from campaigning.