The Election Commission (EC) does not have the authority to act against any party which begins campaigning for the Kajang by-election as the official campaign period has not begun.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the EC could only take action after the official campaign period began on March 11 (nomination day) and right up to midnight on March 22.

He said during that time, the EC was fully responsible for monitoring the campaign at the Kajang by-election.

This was stated in the Elections Act 1958, Election Offences Act 1954 (Act 5), Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981, Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002 and Elections (Postal Voting) Regulations 2003.

“However, before that date (March 11), the responsibility of monitoring any campaign activity lies with other agencies, including the police and local authorities, while the EC can only advise.”

Aziz was commenting on a call by the Malaysian Bar Council that the EC take action against any political party that had begun campaigning for the Kajang by-election when the official date to begin campaigning was only next month.

He said none could declare themselves candidate for the Kajang by-election and begin campaigning for as long as there was no official announcement by the Returning Officer (RO) of that area, Datuk Hasan Nawawi Abdul Rahman, on the candidates.

“Only the RO has the authority to announce if there is a contest and who would be contesting. Before that date (March 11), as far as the EC is concerned, there are no candidates for the election.

“Nevertheless, those who feel they are the candidates … do not do as you wish while campaigning. Obey the laws.”

The Kajang by-election is being held following the resignation of its Parti Keadilan Rakyat incumbent state assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh on Jan 27.

To date, the PKR has named its adviser, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, as its candidate to contest in the by-election, which has been fixed for March 23.

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