Melaka Polls: Citizens relieved, say new SOP right move to stop Covid-19

MALACCA (Bernama): The Health Ministry's move to prohibit all election-related activities, rallies and social gatherings with effect from tomorrow until Nov 27, comes as welcome news and a great relief for communities in the state.

The ban alleviates general anxiety that the run-up to the Melaka state polls will cause Covid-19 outbreaks.

A private sector employee Saadiah Ismail, 36, from Klebang said stricter standard operating procedures (SOP) are vital to ensure that the safety and health of citizens are not compromised.

"We have seen from mass media, video and photographs on how a venue gets congested whenever a political leader goes to the ground. Party machinery is also by no means small, and they come from within and outside Melaka," she said

"I believe full compliance with SOPs is unlikely to be observed properly going by the frenzy to campaign and attract voters. The prohibitions are most timely and befitting," added Saadiah when speaking to Bernama here on Sunday (Oct 24).

Restaurateur Muhammad Ismail Rahmad, 44, agreed with Saadiah and said that he agreed fully with the Ministry's move.

He added that aside from political leaders, citizens must observe the SOP to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks in the state.

"Citizens have made a big sacrifice and endured misery due to Covid-19. Any outbreak will have an adverse effect on us," he said.

Housewife Afidah Musa, 36, from Cheng, said lessons should be learned from what happened following the Sabah state election last year, and not be repeated at all costs.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Melaka chapter chairman Goh Hock Gin said that an outbreak would be "a matter of life and death" for citizens in the state.

"Right now, it’s not just the economic aspect but also a matter of life and death for citizens. For tourism industry players, we just heaved a sigh of relief as state borders were opened. If cases start to rise again, we worry that the tourism sector will be shut down again, leading to more losses for us," he said.

This comes after Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced prohibitions on political gatherings in Melaka, adding that this is in line with the latest list of unauthorised activities (list of negatives) under Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan (PPN).

He said in the event of a violation, an individual, sponsor or organisation would be subject to legal action such as compounds or prosecution in court under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342).

On Oct 18, the Election Commission fixed the nomination day for the Melaka polls on Nov 8 and election day on Nov 20.

The Melaka polls are being held following the dissolution of the Melaka State Legislative Assembly (on Oct 4 when four state assemblymen withdrew support for Chief Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali.

The four assemblymen are Datuk Seri Idris Haron (BN-Sungai Udang), Datuk Nor Azman Hassan (BN-Pantai Kundor), Datuk Norhizam Hassan Baktee (Independent-Pengkalan Batu) and Datuk Noor Effandi Ahmad (Bersatu-Telok Mas). - Bernama

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