Friday, March 7, 2008


Polls betting on hot seats


Do not bet on the outcome of the general election. That is a warning from the Sabah Police who said several irresponsible people are using the elections as a way to make money, illegally. And their customers are putting in their bets from as low as RM5O to thousands of Ringgit on which candidates they think would win and who would lose their deposits and votes majority. State Police Commissioner Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim in disclosing this yesterday described the betting as unbecoming and shameful which should not be happening. “We believe the activity could have been started by some habitual gamblers who would put their bets on anything. Based on the information we received, most of the bets are made on the hot seats throughout Sabah. “How can you gamble the future of your nation?” he told reporters during a press conference at the Kepayan Police Headquarters, yesterday. He said the Police are monitoring the situation and would catch anyone involved in the illegal activity. “We will not hesitate to take action against them under the Betting or Gambling Act,” he said, adding that to date, there has been no arrest made. Touching on the elections, Noor Rashid said the Police are ready for tomorrow’s polling. According to him, 2,853 police officers and personnel, including the General Operations Force and Marine Police, would be placed at all polling centres throughout the State. “Of the figure, a total of 1,974 would be put at the polling lanes, 688 to monitor the security and safety aspects at all centres while 491 to handle traffic flows,” he said. Noor Rashid said since Nomination Day on March 24, the police had received 2,008 applications from political parties to hold talks throughout the 13-day campaign period, and of the figure, only 1,924 had been approved. Of the approved figure, 1,647 talks had been organised while the rest would be done until the campaign period ends midnight today. “Police have also, so far, received 48 reports during the campaign period since Mar 24 all concerning small offences such as lost and damaged posters and failure to publish the company’s logo on posters, among others. “Of the figure, we have opened 36 investigation papers while three other cases have been referred to the Anti-Corruption Act,” he said. Apart from this, he said the Police are also preparing for any eventuality of floods on polling day. “There have been flash floods in the last couple of days of which 162 villagers were affected in Tuaran. We are on standby at flood prone areas should the water level rise on polling day. My commitment is to ensure that the election period goes on peacefully,” he said. Noor Rashid said if ‘phantom voters’ appear in any of the polling centres, the polling officers in the respective locations or the public should notify the police immediately. “Do not take the law into your own hands let us deal with the phantom voters,” he said. Police would also be manning its operations room round-the-clock on polling day. “It would probably operate till Sunday, we will see how things go,” he added.