Dr Noor Hisham: Elections not advised but can proceed... sans cross-border travel, large crowds while campaigning

R. Loheswar
·2-min read
A voter gets her finger marked with indelible ink at the voting station located at SK Pulau Gaya September 26, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
A voter gets her finger marked with indelible ink at the voting station located at SK Pulau Gaya September 26, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — The Ministry of Health said today it is still too soon to have any form of elections, but if it is unavoidable then there are three things that must be strictly followed in order to ensure the public’s safety.

Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there should be no large gatherings during campaigning, no walkabouts, and a restriction on travelling across state and district lines unless for emergencies.

“If we could, we would postpone any form of elections as we are also worried about having an election.

“However if we have to, we use three principles. One is no crossing state or district lines, secondly no campaigning in large groups, and thirdly no walkabouts or home to home visits,” he said during his Covid-19 briefing.

Malaysia has had two by-elections in Chini and Slim and one state election in Sabah since the pandemic triggered a movement control order (MCO) in March.

The Sabah state election resulted in a wave of cases some of which travelled to Peninsular Malaysia causing clusters to emerge in Selangor, Johor, Negri Sembilan and Perak.

As such, the public’s trepidation towards having another election is understandable. However, Dr Noor Hisham said that the ministry has continued to improve on election guidelines and it is only compliance that is lacking.

He said they had already mooted amending the First Schedule of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) which is outdated.

“When Act 342 was drafted, we did not foresee a pandemic. In 1988 we were looking at one locality of infectious disease. This time it’s the whole country, globally even.

“In fact, we had discussed amending it before the pandemic hit. We’ve already sent our plans to the attorney-general. We hope to see some progress soon,” added Dr Noor Hisham.

Malaysia added another 799 cases today, the bulk of which are in Sabah.

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