KUALA LUMPUR: The police allegedly replaced Pakatan Rakyat banners in Penang with Barisan Nasional (BN) ones, just before Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak made a visit there two days ago. Balik Pulau MP Yusmadi Yusoff said that the April 2 incident took place at Pekan Balik Pulau, only a few hours before the start of Najib’s official visit. “Why are the police taking down Pakatan flags during Najib’s visit and replacing them with BN banners?” the PKR MP asked at the Parliament lobby here today. “It was done in the morning just before the prime minister’s visit in the afternoon, and it was done all over town.” Yusmadi also asked why such a decision was made when the Pakatan banners were not in danger of obstructing traffic. He said this while showing four photographs of police officers caught in the act. Abuse of power In one instance, a plainclothes officer was seen alighting from a patrol vehicle before removing a PKR flag from a lamp post. Another image allegedly showed another police officer setting up a poster thanking Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor for their visit to Balik Pulau. According to the time shown on the photographs, the incidents reportedly took place between 11.12am and 11.33am. Yusmadi said that the pictures, which were reportedly taken by Balik Pulau residents, were a sign of the government’s abuse of political power. “This is a case where a government agency has been improperly used, and an example of a collusion of power among the government, BN and the police,” Yusmadi said. “The police have no right to put up banners belonging to any political party.
This is an encroachment of the civil and political rights of the people of Balik Pulau.” The PKR MP said that he had spoken to the police on the matter, and was allegedly told that they had received instructions from their superiors to do so (take down the Pakatan banners). Yusmadi also said that some of these banners were even set up near his office, and that they were still in place. Although disappointed with the action of the police, he said that he would not take down the BN banners. However, he wants the Home Ministry to apologise over the flag incident or face legal action.