Cops probing Anwar for premature electoral campaign


(MM) – Police are investigating PKR candidate Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for allegedly going on the stump ahead of the official period for the Kajang by-election.

Selangor deputy police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaafar was reported by Malay-language daily Berita Harian today as saying the opposition leader had failed to give notice for his ceramah 10 days ahead as required under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012.

He explained that the matter falls under police jurisdiction as the official campaign period only starts on March 11.

The investigations are being carried out under Section 9(5) of the PAA, which carries a maximum fine of RM10,000 if found guilty of failing to give 10 days notice to the police officer in charge of a given district, the senior policeman added.

Abdul Rahim’s statement follows an earlier statement by Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, who likewise said that Anwar could be charged under the PAA for premature campaigning.

The daily also reported Abdul Aziz as saying Anwar’s alleged early start is a clear violation of existing laws, repudiating the PKR adviser’s counter-criticism of the EC as a tool wielded by certain political parties.

“What I said is enshrined in the law and all contesting parties must abide by it, no exceptions.

“I urge political parties to get police permits under the PAA 2012 if they want to hold gatherings or ceramahs,” Abdul Aziz was quoted saying.

Last week, the EC announced that nomination would be conducted on March 11, with the by-election to be held on March 23.

Under Malaysian electoral laws, campaigning may only be done from nomination day until midnight of the day before polling.

Local newspapers had yesterday reported leaders from six Kajang Umno branches — Desa Sri Jenaris, Kantan Permai, Taming Impian, Saujana Impian, Prima Saujana and Saujana Damai — have lodged police reports against Anwar of allegedly starting his campaign before the official period.

Anwar, who is also Permatang Pauh MP, has been making appearances in the constituency for various functions since announcing his candidacy.

However, no banners or campaign material have been spotted.

The Kajang by-election was triggered by the sudden and unexplained resignation of its PKR representative Lee Chin Cheh, who had won the Selangor state seat in a six-cornered fight in Election 2013.

The unforced resignation fuelled rumours that it was to allow Anwar to join the state assembly and replace Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as Selangor mentri besar.

Anwar is expected to face off against an MCA candidate.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition’s Chinese party has announced that it will field a candidate after carrying out a comprehensive survey.

Another BN component, Malaysian Indian United Party, has offered its president, Senator Datuk K.S. Nallakaruppan as a candidate for the contest.

Former PKR member, S. Gobi Krishnan, also announced that his newly-formed New Generation Party will field a candidate.