Covid-19 SOP to be observed during Chini by-election on July 4

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 16 May 2020

PUTRAJAYA: Polling for the Chini by-election has been fixed for July 4 and Covid-19 prevention norms will be practised throughout the process, said the Election Commission (EC).

EC chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said they had held discussions with the National Security Council, Health Ministry and police on the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the by-election.

Nomination day has been set for June 20, which means there will be a 14-day campaign period.

Azhar said campaigning activities must adhere to the government’s movement control order (MCO) at the time.

To control distancing and avoid overcrowding on polling day, the EC is proposing to limit the number of voters at each voting stream to 400 instead of the usual 600.

Azhar said the Health Ministry was reviewing the proposed SOP.

“The EC will send out the voter’s card to all registered voters in the Chini constituency.

“The voter’s card will contain information such as the voter’s polling centre, voting stream as well as the recommended time for the person to cast the ballot.

“This will help ensure social distancing at the polling centres and avoid overcrowding, ” Azhar said at a press conference yesterday after chairing a special EC meeting on the by-election.

Early voting has been set for June 30.

Registration for postal voting for those based in and outside the country is open until June 18.

Other measures introduced by the EC for this by-election include extending the closing time for polling by 30 minutes to 5.30pm.

An additional 20 voting streams will be added to the 46 used during the 14th General Election, making it a total of 66 streams.

Azhar said the by-election was estimated to cost RM4.3mil and would involve a total of 832 workers and 14 voting centres.

The main hall of the National Youth Skills Institute in Pekan has been set as the nomination and vote-tallying centre.

Azhar said there were 20,990 eligible voters for the Chini by-election. A voter turnout of 70% is expected.

Umno’s Chini assemblyman Datuk Seri Abu Bakar Harun, 60, had died of a heart attack on May 7.

He retained the seat in GE14 with a 4,622 majority in a three-cornered contest against candidates from PAS and PKR.

Barisan Nasional has said it would defend the seat in the by-election and continue its partnership with PAS under the Muafakat Nasional cooperation.

The state seat falls within the Pekan parliamentary seat held by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

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