Vandals, scandals and daylight robbery

Yaso Ponnuthurai says thieves and vandals have disrupted her election campaign. Pic by Andrew Ritchie
Yaso Ponnuthurai says thieves and vandals have disrupted her election campaign. Pic by Andrew Ritchie

THE Canning election race is mired in claims of vandalism, theft and cyber bullying.

Mayoral candidate Yaso Ponnuthurai says up to 80 of 140 election signs have been defaced, slashed or removed from front lawns in the past week.

“One Willetton resident caught a man on his CCTV removing my sign from his verge,’’ she said.

“It’s definitely a gender issue here; why have only my signs been stolen and smashed?”

Cr Ponnuthurai said before a candidate could erect a sign, they needed to obtain permission from the property owner.

“People have been removing my signs and either cutting them up or replacing them elsewhere; it’s really disheartening,” she said.

Last week, Cr Ponnuthurai said a person by the name of ‘Melanie’ emailed her, slamming her for putting an election sign on her parents’ lawn in Riverton.

“This (person) said her parents supported another candidate and I needed to remove my sign immediately,’’ she said. “However, I spoke to the owners of the property a couple of weeks ago and they gave me permission, so I was a bit baffled by her email.”

A follow-up call to the property owner, Ian Burns, confirmed Ms Ponnuthurai’s hunch: she had been duped.

Mr Burns told the Canning Gazette he does not have a daughter by the name of Melanie and would go as far as calling it a “cyber crime”.

“My wife and I spoke to Yaso and agreed to her putting her sign up on the property, but we’ve had another (candidate) erect their sign without our permission,’’ he said.

Cr Ponnuthurai said initial attempts to report the incident to police was rejected, as it was a “City of Canning matter”.

Canning Mayor Paul Ng said he did not condone such behaviour.

“Whether it is election signs or any others, defacing and stealing is definitely a no-no,’’ he said.

Cr Ponnuthurai added: “There is only one way to go: ignore the chatter, be yourself and stand firm on your personal values.”

Cr Ponnuthurai is running for mayor against 11 other candidates.