PETALING JAYA: Walkabouts and door-to-door campaigning do not require police permits under the current law provisions, says Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas (pic).
Thomas clarified that the provisions under which the Election Commission cited the need for a permit for walkabouts and door-to-door campaigning have been wrongly cited.
"The declaration by the police for the need for such police permits is based on Section 24B (3) of the Election Offences Act 1954.
"With respect, this 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.
"The historical fact is that since 1955, these methods of appealing to the electorate are the ones most popularly used by candidates of all political parties, and without the need for such permits," said Thomas in a statement on Thursday (Nov 14).
He said that he had issued the statement as there is a need to make clear of the controversy surrounding the requirement for police permits for walkabouts and door-to-door campaigning by the six candidates and their parties for the Nov 16 Tanjung Piai by-election.
"At the outset, it must be kept in mind that voting is a fundamental right expressly enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
"Since 1955,14 General Elections and hundreds of by-elections have been held in order for our electorate to vote on their members of parliament and state assemblymen.
"Campaigning for these elections represent the heart of parliamentary democracy," added Thomas.
Political parties have cried foul of the announcement that police permits were needed for walkabouts and door-to-door campaigning in Tanjung Piai.
Meanwhile, Azhar said he welcomes the clarification.
"It's a good advice from the AG. I welcome it, and as the advice comes from the chief legal adviser to the govt, I am sure the police will follow that advice," said Azhar when contacted.
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