PKR fined RM10,000 for crowdless ceramah in Melaka

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PKR information chief Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin speaks during the PKR Information Convention in Ampang July 26, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
PKR information chief Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin speaks during the PKR Information Convention in Ampang July 26, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31 — PKR was fined RM10,000 by the authorities after it attempted to hold a crowdless mobile ceramah in Paya Rumput, Melaka, last night, prompting protest from party leaders.

News portal Malaysiakini reported that the Pakatan Harapan lynchpin had planned speeches delivered from a makeshift stage on a lorry parked in the middle of residential areas, through loudspeakers, to avoid a gathering as part of efforts to comply with Covid-19 protocols.

“There is no meeting or gathering (in these ceramahs) that would cause new (Covid-19) clusters and the programme cannot be considered a social event,” Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, the party’s information chief, was quoted as saying at a press conference held this morning.

“When we were holding our programme at Taman Krubong Jaya last night, the police issued a compound stating that the party had violated the Covid-19 SOPs by holding an election-related event,” the PKR leader added.

Shamsul criticised the fine as unreasonable because there was no actual physical gathering.

Public health authorities have banned all forms of physical campaigning or large social events at the Melaka state election. Campaigning period for the November 20 pollswill last just under two weeks.

The Health Ministry earlier this week fined Barisan Nasional (BN) RM10,000 after the coalition held a programme in Kuala Lumpur to launch its election machinery.

Shamsul alleged that BN leaders held gatherings nearby last night despite the penalty.

The ban on physical campaigning has prompted protests from both sides of the divide.

Shamsul, a local and MP for Hang Tuah Jaya, said the party was trying to be creative in cognisance of the limitations and concern for public health safety.

“This is something regretful and I urge the Health Ministry to review more thoroughly the details in the context of not being able to hold any gatherings or social events throughout the election,” he was quoted as saying.

“It is unreasonable if we cannot campaign in this election.”

PKR is expected to convey its protest to the Home and Health Ministries through an official letter.

The party is mulling to take the matter to court, Shamsul suggested.

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