SEPANG: The special Election Commission (EC) squads, which will make their debut in the coming general election, will be armed with video cameras to record ceramah and the behaviour of supporters in a move to keep campaigns orderly.
Known as election enforcement teams, the units will record speeches and statements during the campaign, which many expect to be intensive this time round.
The units, introduced under amendments to the Election Offences Act 1954, will be headed by a commission officer and its members will be a police officer with a rank of inspector and above, a local authority official and representatives of contesting parties.
EC secretary Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the units would be empowered to act on the spot to stop ceramah and actions that are deemed sensitive and a threat to security, and if necessary, arrest those responsible.
He said they could also bring down banners and posters that were against specifications in local by-laws and election regulations.
”If the candidates violate the law by using slanderous or seditious words that can disrupt national unity, the team can stop the candidates or their supporters.
“And to ensure impartiality, the members of the units will also comprise representatives from contesting parties,” he told The Star on Tuesday.
“In previous elections, those affected had to lodge police reports. By the time the investigations were over, the elections would also be over and nobody took much interest after that.
“The damage was already done most of the time. Now, the monitoring teams will be watching politicians and their supporters from nomination day to polling day,” he said.
Wan Ahmad said the enforcement team members had been briefed and given guidelines on how to go about their duties.
“We have compiled a booklet and given it to every member of the team. We also do not want overzealous members who, instead of solving problems, will create unnecessary ones,” he said.
He said returning officers would supervise the enforcement teams and refer complaints on grey areas to the EC for advice.
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