Bersih 2.0 Northern region and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) Penang office call upon the police to stop harassing those who are taking part in the campaign for the Permatang Puah by-election, especially those from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).
So far, four persons including two volunteers from PKR, two voters have been summoned by the police under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) section 112 to give statements pertaining to a ceramah held in a coffee shop.
We view this action of the police as one of intimidation, calculated to instil fear in the supporters of PKR and also to disrupt the party’s campaign schedule.
Such actions by the police are most unfair, as they go against the universally recognised and accepted principle that leaders and supporters of all parties taking part in an election must be provided the democratic space to articulate their parties’ stand on various issues at public meeting places, including coffee shops.
We therefore call upon the police to stop its harassment of parties opposed to the Barisan National in the Permatang Puah by-election. We also hope that the police and all other public institutions especially the Election Commission (EC) can act independently and impartially in upholding the rule of law and democracy during the entire campaign period of the Permatang Pauh by election.
We further wish to record our utmost disappointment with the EC for allowing a campaign period of slightly less than two weeks. This is below the minimum and fair period of 21 days suggested by Bersih 2.0.
As if this was not enough, the EC further fixed Thursday, 7 May, which is a working day to be the day of polling. Bu so doing, out-of-town voters of Permatang Puah will find it difficult to return to cast their votes. Difficult though it may be, we urge all these voters to return and vote.
Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon is the chairperson of Bersih 2.0 Northern region