Eleven billboards and 20 banners put up by PKR in Penang to invite the public to attend a ceramah and a court case in George Town involving its jailed leader Anwar Ibrahim have gone missing.
The party's Bayan Baru deputy chief, Ahmad Azrizal Tahir, said the items went missing early yesterday morning.
"Since police prohibited the words 'Bebas Anwar' (Free Anwar) on the banners, these missing materials merely urged Anwar's supporters to attend the two events, Azrizal said.
"We believe they were removed by certain irresponsible quarters," Azrizal (photo) told a press conference in Bayan Baru last evening.
"We do not think this was done by the police. Usually, when they remove such items, everything will be loaded onto their lorry.
"However, this time we noticed that the billboard frames were left behind," he added.
"We do not want to speculate or name anybody, but people will think that this was done by our political rivals."
Three men were detained for investigation under the Sedition Act last Friday when they were putting up banners to promote a rally in Seberang Jaya in support of the de factoPKR leader, to be held on Jan 9.
The rally is to coincide with a civil court case from Jan 9 to 12 in Penang, at which Anwar has to be present.
He will be temporarily moved from the Sungai Buloh Prison in Selangor to the prison in George Town to attend the trial.
The former opposition leader is suing two New Straits Times reporters and lawyer Ranjit Singh Dillion over the allegation that he paid the late Karpal Singh RM50 million to bribe judges.
Anwar is currently serving a five-year jail sentence for sodomy, a charge he claimed was politically motivated.
No police permit for rally
Earlier, similar banners at Alma, Bukit Teh and Permatang Tinggi on mainland Penang have also been removed by police.
Police have advised the rally organisers to stop erecting such banners, saying the event has no police permit.
Bukit Mertajam Umno secretary Mohd Fauzi Sharif has lodged a police report, urging the force to take stern action on the rally organisers.
Azrizal conceded that the billboards and banners were put up by a contractor without local council approval.
"Normally, the local council will contact us to submit the relevant documents, such as the land owner's consent, within three days.
"We have already prepared the letter to submit to the council today, but now we do not need to do it since all the banners are gone, " Azrizal said.
"This only shows that Anwar is still feared and remains an important factor in the country's political scenario.
"The people are disgusted with such uncivilised behaviour of removing our materials and we in Bayan Baru will not bow to this kind of intimidation.
"Malaysians are well aware of such malicious political behaviour, which will only strengthen the people's support for Pakatan Harapan," Azrizal added.- Mkini