Play safe, keep clean

Play safe, keep clean
THE temperature has risen a few notches in campaigning  for PRU13 with police now handling an incident of explosion and physical confrontation in Penang and Kelantan.

Unwelcome noises are coming from campaigning in Nibong Tebal, Penang which turned a bit more incendiary with one person actually hurt when a loud explosion occurred just as a BN ceramah was in full swing late Tuesday evening. Thankfully, this did not turn out to be a bloody bombing and the police have not classified it serious enough to warrant any stoppage to campaigning.

Elsewhere, a part-time RTM cameraman aged 61, succumbed to a heart attack following a verbal fracas with some opposition party sympathizers in Kelantan. More seriously, a shopkeeper sustained cuts and bruises when he confronted one party worker who tried to raise a party flag too close to his property.

We have not reached such a stage in our elections where bombs go off and machine guns rattle; we’d rather leave that to news items we read in lands far, far away. We should take pride in our boast that as Malaysians, we are peace-loving and do not easily resort to the use of violence to settle our political differences.
Our Northern and East Coast neighbours should take a leaf from what is, or is not happening in KL and Putrajaya. After three days of campaigning City Police Chief Datuk Mohmad Salleh was pleased to report that campaigning has gone smoothly in the areas under his jurisdiction.

His biggest headache is no more serious than getting contesting parties to speed up their paperwork – it appears that of the 156 ceramahs that got under way thus far, only 61 had obtained the legal police permit.

The police districts of Brickfields and Sentul reported the largest number of cases of “illegal” ceramahs with 40 and 39 reports respectively. Brickfields is especially of concern as this is where the hot seat of Lembah Pantai is located.

So, all political parties out there, here’s ample warning to get your office practices up to speed as there’s still plenty of campaigning to do.

Datuk Mohmad Salleh also cautioned all parties to keep the tone of rhetoric down as in the three weeks following the dissolution of Parliament, the police had received 122 reports of vandalism. These involved incidents of skirmishes between overzealous party workers fighting for space to put up banners, buntings and flags.

In our eagerness to exercise our democratic rights to canvass support for the party of our choice, it pays to always remember to keep the peace and preserve harmony.

Let cool heads prevail, for after PRU13 is over, life needs to go on. We have seen enough examples in less mature societies where so much energy and resources are channeled to disruption. Bombs go off indiscriminately and the populace cower in constant fear. Nothing productive ever gets done. That is not what we Malaysians want. But that could easily be our fate if we go down the same road.

Fellow Malaysians, yes; lets fight for a better future, but do it peaceably. Above all, stay safe this PRU13 season.