Ban on political gatherings timely, MP says in chiding 'selfish' leaders for triggering Melaka polls

KUALA LUMPUR: An independent MP has welcomed the ban on political gatherings during campaigning in the upcoming Melaka state election, which he said was triggered by the actions of self-centred politicians.

Steven Choong (IND-Tebrau) said the ban on physical gatherings was to prevent a spike in Covid-19 cases, as the Sabah state election last year triggered a new wave of infections across the country.

"In politics, we must know when to prioritise the people's health as our main agenda.

"Unfortunately, some of us who are selfish have caused the Melaka state election to take place at an unsuitable time for normal Malaysians," he said during his speech on the annulment of the Emergency Ordinances in Parliament on Monday (Oct 25).

Choong, who was formerly with PKR but was sacked in February after expressing support for the Perikatan Nasional government, called for stricter SOPs by the authorities in the upcoming Melaka election.

"There should be no gatherings of supporters on nomination day and polling day.

"The number of voters for each voting centre should be reduced. The number of voters entering schools must also be limited to ensure social distancing," he said.

On Sunday (Oct 24), Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said a ban was placed on all political gatherings in Melaka from Monday (Oct 25) to Nov 27.

"As the risk of transmission of Covid-19 remains high, especially with the Delta variant, these political activities will only further increase the likelihood of more infections," Khairy said.

The Melaka state assembly was dissolved after former chief minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron and three other assemblymen withdrew support for then chief minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali.

Nominations for the state election have been set for Nov 8 while polling is on Nov 20.

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