PENANG, Aug 12 (Bernama) -- The police have urged the public to avoid political gatherings ahead of the campaign for the Permatang Pasir by-election, in lieu of the outbreak of Influenza A/H1N1.
Penang police chief Datuk Ayub Yaakob said the police would not stop any political party from applying for the permit for the 'ceramahs' (political rallies) but would advised them against holding any gathering unless there was a necessity.
"Gatherings will expose us to additional risk because the disease will spread easily. It is in line with the call by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to avoid public gatherings, if necessary," he told Bernama when contacted here today.
The Election Commission (EC) has fixed Aug 17 as nomination day. Polling is on Aug 25.
Ayub said permits for the 'ceramahs' could be applied at the Seberang Jaya and Kubang Semang police stations or the Seberang Prai Tengah (SPT) police headquarters in Bandar Perda.
"We are not stopping the people from applying but we hope those contesting and campaigning will follow the rules we have set," he said.
However, he said the police would be fair in considering all applications.
"We hope those involved in this by-election will not make provocative or inciteful speeches during the campaign period," he said.
The Permatang Pasir state seat was left vacant when its assemblyman, Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman, died at the National Heart Centre in Kuala Lumpur on July 31.
Mohd Hamdan, 60, was a two-term state assemblyman and former Penang PAS commissioner.
The constituency has 20,289 voters (including one postal voter), with 72.36 per cent Malay, 25.85 per cent Chinese, 1.63 per cent Indian and 0.16 per cent others. -- BERNAMA