Election Commission officers yesterday preparing for the Tanjung Piai by-election in Pontian. BERNAMA PIC

PUTRAJAYA: Clarification is required on the controversy surrounding the need for police permits for walkabouts and door-to-door campaigning by the six Tanjung Piai by-election candidates and their parties.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas said although a permit was required under Section 24B (3) of the Election Offences Act 1954, the provision “does not expressly refer to walkabouts and door-to-door campaigning”.

“The words used in the provision cannot, under any circumstances, be interpreted to extend to walkabouts and door-to-door campaigning.”

He said since 1955, these methods of appealing to the electorate were the ones commonly used by candidates of all political parties and without the need for such permits.

He said it must be kept in mind that voting was a fundamental right.

“Since 1955, 14 general elections and hundreds of by-elections have been held.

“Campaigning for elections represents the heart of parliamentary democracy.”

Johor police chief Datuk Mohd Kamaruddin Md Din had said the new election campaigning rule was intended to ensure there were no clashes between political parties.