April 10, 2009 By CLARA CHOOI
Picture courtesy of The Sun
IPOH: The Internal Security and Public Order Department has confirmed rumours that tear gas was fired at rowdy supporters during polling day for the Bukit Gantang by-election on April 7.
Its director Comm Datuk Hussin Ismail said he was aware of such an incident but believed the act of firing the gas had been justifiable and that the move was warranted.
"The response was based on necessity. We needed to use the tear gas to keep the situation under control.
"The commander in charge at the point felt there was a need to disperse the crowd as the situation was getting tense," he told reporters after a reception to welcome the General Operations Force (GOF) northern brigade team from its six month stint in Timor Leste.
Comm Hussin was responding to rumours that the police had misused its powers by firing tear gas at supporters outside SK Pengkalan Aur in Air Kuning, Changkat Jering, during Tuesday's polls.
When questioned on the actual day of the incident, however, police spokesmen had claimed that there had been no report on the matter.
Since then however, videos posted up online and blogs had picked up on the news, claiming that the police had acted wrongfully.
When contacted Friday, Perak CPO Deputy Comm Datuk Zulkifli Abdullah said that the incident had occurred some time before noon.
"The crowd outside the voting station was beginning to wage a verbal war with one another and things became rowdy.
"The police light strike force had to take necessary preventive measures to disperse the crowd after people began to fling objects like bottles at one another," he said.
He added that only one round of tear gas was fired and the crowd dispersed within minutes.
"No one was arrested and public order was maintained," he said. DCP Zulkifli said the incident would be examined when the police conducted its own post-mortem of the by-election.