Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Police want parties to plan ceramahs early to avoid conflict


While Police prepare themselves to keep the peace during the general election, they want political parties to plan their ceramahs or talks early to avoid conflicts and quarrels or even public fights. Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim said yesterday parties contesting in the 12th general election should submit their permit applications as soon as they can to avoid any inconvenience. He gave the assurance that permits for political talks or gatherings will be issued but reminded that the Police would always make public safety a top priority and will not allow gatherings that could lead to clashes between supporters. “We don’t want two opposing political parties to have their talks at the same time or too close to each other as this could lead to public quarrels, or even fights between supporters,” he said. He said it is important applications for permits are sent in early so that parties involved would have ample time to discuss with the Police any problem that may arise, such as a situation if the other parties had already applied to hold their talks at a particular place applied for. With less than a week to go before Nomination Day on this Sunday, politicians and their workers are busy preparing themselves with the Police too getting ready to keep law and order and ensure a smooth conduct of the polls. The Sabah Police yesterday held a meeting at the Kepayan Headquarters to finalize their preparations and will be mobilizing about 2,200 men and officers to keep watch over all election- related activities in the State. “Sufficient police personnel and officers will be dispatched to ensure safety and maintain order at all nomination and polling centres,” Rashid said. The safety situation is very good and will be maintained so as to enable voters to cast their votes in a safe environment, according to him. So far, the Police have not received any application to hold a ceramah or political talk. According to Rashid, 26 nomination centers will be opened in the State with Police being involved in guarding 24 of them. Throughout the 25 parliamentary constituencies, 688 polling centres will be opened, with Kota Marudu having the most or 50 centres, while Tawau with the least or 18 centres. The State Capital will have 21 polling centres while the neighbouring districts of Tuaran and Sepanggar will have 40 centres each. Penampang and Papar will have 21 and 19 centres respectively, according to Rashid. A total of 491 inquiry counters where voters can check their voting centres will stay open during the polling day, he added.