|March 04, 2008|
KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 (Bernama) — Police have arrested 16 people for various offences including being involved in fights in the first nine days of campaigning.
However, they were released on police bail to enable them to assist their parties in the campaigning, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Ismail Omar said today.
“Police are keeping a close watch on them and have reminded them not to cause any disturbance which could disrupt the election process,” he told reporters after casting his postal vote at Bukit Aman here.
He said police were awaiting the decision of the Attorney-General before prosecuting them.
Asked whether sensitive issues were raised during the campaigning, he said police were collecting evidence on the matter, especially those transmitted through the short messaging service (SMS).
“I regret that certain quarters have played up racial sentiments in the campaigning and police view this seriously,” he said.
Ismail said that if there was concrete evidence, those concerned could be charged under the Sedition Act.
He said that although police had approved permits for public rallies, politicians must abide by the laws and know their boundaries.
Police had issued 11,000 permits for public rallies nationwide, he added.
Ismail said 722 of 1,500 back-up personnel from Bukit Aman for the general election had been deployed to assist several state police contingents during the campaigning and on polling day.