EC orders BN to remove provocative banners

By Clara Chooi (Malaysian Insider)
KUALA KUBU BHARU, April 19 — The Election Commission will direct all political parties responsible for erecting banners or billboards containing slanderous or provocative remarks to take down their materials by today.
EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar agreed with the PKR Youth today that Barisan Nasional (BN) billboards, some which labelled PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as a traitor, and banners showing PKR’s candidate Datuk Zaid Ibrahim consuming alcohol, were inappropriate to be used as campaign materials.
He pointed out that erecting such provocative materials is an offence under Section 4 of the Election Offences Act 1954.
“The EC will direct all the parties involved to remove these materials and any other material that could reasonably cause the anger of others or raise discontent.
“We do not want this to encourage anger among the supporters and the candidates in the by-election,” he said in a press conference here today.
He added that if convicted under the offence, the perpetrators faced the prospect of a jail term of no more than five years, or a fine of no more than RM10,000, or both.
Wan Ahmad however said that the EC will give the parties involved the opportunity to remove their materials first.
“If they fail to do so, we will remove them ourselves. However, we will tell them nicely first. I will inform the returning officer to do so,” he said.
Wan Ahmad advised PKR not to take the law into their own hands by removing the materials on their own.
“The EC knows its responsibility. We will take down these materials on our own. They do not have to do our jobs for us or the jobs of the police. It is wrong,” he said.
Wan Ahmad pointed out that PKR could take action against the perpetrators if they wanted to but through the right channels.
“It is up to them. In the meantime, we are responsible for removing the banners and we will carry out our duties properly,” he said.
PKR Youth, led by its chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, lodged a complaint with the EC this morning over the banners and billboards erected by Barisan Nasional in conjunction with the by-election campaign period.
Shamsul said that the wing would give the EC one day to remove the banners and if the materials are still visible tomorrow, they will remove them on their own.