TAIPING, April 1 -The Election Commission (EC) has said that the election regulations allowed only contesting political parties to apply for permits to hold “ceramah” (public talks) for campaigning.
“However, they can list the names of speakers from other political parties in their application forms for the permits,” said Perak EC director Ahmad Adli Abdullah.
He made this clarification to avoid confusion over the permit issue in the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat by-election, following complaints from certain quarters that certain political parties had difficulty in getting a permit to hold a ceramah.
“It’s not that, but the EC regulations only allow the political parties contesting in the election to apply for a ceramah permit,” he said.
On another matter, Ahmad Adli said the ballot papers for the Bukit Gantang by-election would only be printed after midnight and the candidates intending to withdraw from contesting, could do so before midnight.
However, at this very moment, none of the candidates have withdrawn.
Meanwhile, police personnel who had registered as postal voters in this constituency will vote this Friday. They are among 136 postal voters out of the constituency’s 55,562 total registered voters.
The 197 EC staffers involved in running the by-election, will also vote by post this Friday at the by-election operations room here while the candidates’ agents had also been told about this.
The by-election returning officer Datuk Mahmod Morsidi, who is also Larut, Matang and Selama district officer, said campaigning went on smoothly and so far only four cases of election regulation violations had been detected.
Two of the cases involved holding a ceramah without a permit while the other two, exceeding the time allowed. An election ceramah outside town area is not allowed after 11pm and in a town area, the ceramah must not be past midnight.
However, Mahmod said, all parties that breached the rule had cooperated with the election campaign enforcement officers when told to stop the ceramah.
He said the EC had formed an enforcement team in each of the state seats of of Kuala Sapetang, Changkat Jering and Trong in the Bukit Gantang parliamentary constituency.
He advised all the political parties involved to follow the election regulations and avoid making inciting or offending statements against others, while the parties not contesting were not allowed to put up their flags during the campaign period.
The by-election on April 7 will see a three-cornered contest involving Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Ismail Saffian, 49, Pas’ Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, 52, and independent candidate Kamarul Ramizu Idris, 42.
It is held following the death of the incumbent MP, Roslan Shaharum from Pas, on Feb 9.
In the last general election on March 8 last year, Roslan won the seat after defeating BN’s Datuk Seri Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi and independent candidate M. Mohganan with a 1,566-vote majority. – Bernama
EC: Only parties contesting can apply for 'ceramah' permits