Maria denounces arrest of women who took down banners

PETALING JAYA: Maria Chin Abdullah has condemned the police over the arrest of three women who took down banners of a political party today, questioning why no action was taken against those who put up the materials instead.

The former Bersih 2.0 chairman described the arrest as unfair, absolutely unnecessary and merely an attempt to frighten citizens, pointing out that the putting up of campaign materials was also an offence under election laws.

She explained that according to Section 24B(4) of the Election Offences Act 1954, campaign materials could only be displayed or distributed during the campaign period, from the nomination day on April 28 until polling day.

"Unless they have a permit, putting up posters, flags and banners is an election offence as it is not yet the campaign period.

"Those who had put up the flags should have been charged under the Advertisement By-laws (Federal Territory) 1982 and the Vandalism By-laws (Federal Territory Kuala Lumpur) 1991," she said in a statement today.

Maria demanded that the police clarify their action of arresting the three women while refraining from taking any action against those who put them up.

The women, who removed 133 Barisan Nasional banners claiming their complaints with City Hall had fallen on deaf ears, were held for investigation on grounds of committing mischief.