PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): The Election Commisson (EC) will introduce a special standard operating procedure (SOP) for the Chini state by-election on July 4, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
EC chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said among the measures in the proposed SOP was to limit the number of voters for each polling channel to 400, compared to 600 previously.
He said the EC had engaged the Health Ministry, the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma), the National Security Council (NSC) and the police when drawing up the SOP.
"We don’t want to create a new cluster after the by-election. So, we are taking the initiative to prevent the spread of Covid-19 when holding the by-election, ” he told a press conference at the EC Tower here on Friday (May 15).
Azhar said suggested voting time would be stated on the voter’s card to ensure compliance with the social distancing regulation and reduce congestion at the polling centres.
For campaign regulations, EC will follow the SOP and regulations enforced during the movement control order (MCO), conditional MCO or enhanced MCO.
"Let’s say the conditiuonal MCO is being enforced (during the by-election), so no rallies will be allowed. Campaigns can only be carried out through the mass media, bunting and posters, as well as through the mobile campaign unit.
"It depends on the type of MCO being enforced at that time. We will monitor and finalise it when the time comes, ” he said.
The EC has also agreed to form a campaign enforcement team comprising the police, local authorities and representatives of candidates to oversee all activities during the campaign period.
To a question on what the EC would do if a voter is suspected to be Covid-19 positive or has developed symptoms, Azhar said among the suggestions was to bring the person directly to a special tent to separate the individual from other people, and to be managed by officials wearing personal protective equipment.
However, this will be based on input from the Health Ministry, Nadma, NSC and the police, provided that the MCO or conditional MCO is still being enforced at that time.
"We still don’t know and will monitor the situation from time to time. There are a lot of aspects to be considered. If we were to allow voting from the hospital or by post, how do we manage the ballot papers?” he added.
Asked if polling centres would be sanitised prior to the polling date, Azhar said it was still being discussed. – Bernama
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