Melaka Polls: No political gatherings from Oct 25 to Nov 27 due to Covid-19 concerns, says KJ

PETALING JAYA: With election fever building up in Melaka, the Health Ministry has issued a ban on political gatherings in the state from Oct 25 to Nov 27 over Covid-19 concerns.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (pic) said that while there will be standard operating procedures (SOP) for the state election, it will only take effect during the campaigning period from Nov 8 and the ministry is concerned that there will be plenty of mass gatherings before that.

“As Melaka is in Phase 4 (of the National Recovery Plan), social gatherings are allowed according to the National Security Council’s SOPs.

“However, as can be seen by recent gatherings, political parties (including mine) cannot observe SOPs.

“In the interest of public health, all political gatherings will now not be allowed in Melaka,” said Khairy on Sunday (Oct 24).

Khairy said the ban on political gatherings will also include party election machinery launch events.

He said the ministry’s decision is necessary as the risk of Covid-19 outbreaks are still high.

“With the announcement of the Melaka state election, the ministry expects many social events related to the election will be held and will involve mass gatherings of individuals.

“As the risk of transmission of Covid-19 remains high, especially with the transmission of the Delta variant in the community and the growing number of new cases reported, these political activities will only further increase the likelihood of more infection outbreaks,” said Khairy.

The ban will be made under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342), which states that there should not be any mass gatherings of people under any phase of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

Khairy said any individual, organiser or organisation can be subject to compounds or prosecution in court if they are found guilty of committing offences under the Act 342.

Khairy’s statement came in light of viral videos and photos of political gatherings related to the Melaka election.

Nomination day for the Melaka election will be on Nov 8, with polling day set for Nov 20.

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