Malaysia’s 13th General Election


Troublemakers can be held for 28 days

SECURITY OFFENCES ACT: Law to be used against those who try to overthrow or undermine parliamentary democracy

KUALA LUMPUR: POLICE will use the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) during the 13th General Election against any parties or individuals engaged in activities deemed detrimental to parliamentary democracy.

Federal Criminal Investigation Department principal assistant director (legal division) Datuk Razali Basri said individuals who attempted to overthrow or undermine the parliamentary democracy by violent or unconstitutional means could be detained under Sosma.

"It applies to various actions such as burning a police or polling station and anything that can be classified under the six amended Penal Code sections which can be applied during the election period," said Razali.

The Penal Code, namely Sections 130A, 124B, 124C, 124D, 124E and 124F, covered all the possible types of offences that can committed through all mediums, including printing and publication of offensive materials.

Under Sosma, person or persons can be detained for 28 days and after the detention period, they would either be released or charged in court.

Razali said the Election Offences Act 1954 would be applied throughout the campaigning period right up to polling day.

"For example, if any political party wants to conduct talks at an open space or gathering during the campaign period, they have to apply for a permit. During this period, the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA) cannot be used."

He said PAA could only be used outside the campaign period. Police would also use other laws if the offences committed could not be investigated and charged under the Election Offences Act.

He said the primary role of police during the general election was to create a favourable climate in which democratic polls could take place.

"Our secondary role is to assist the Election Commission in carrying out their duties such as ensuring the security and safety of polling centres to enable voters to exercise their rights without fear of intimidation, coercion, violence and manipulation."

Razali said police were also responsible to ensure that ballot papers and indelible inks were kept safely before the polling day, including the possibility of storing it in lockups.

"The EC did not ask police to keep it under lock and key, but they have approached the district police chiefs. So, where else can we get 24-hour security and safety if not in a police lock-up?"

He also said 26,000 policemen would be deployed throughout the election period to ensure the safety and security of the people.

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