KUALA LUMPUR: There will be no double standards in enforcing and monitoring standard operating procedures (SOP) related to the Melaka state polls, says Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
The Senior Minister said although the matter had been questioned by many quarters, the government was forced to balance the demand between health and safety along with democratic practices.
"Equal action will be practiced so people will not see any double standards over the enforcement and monitoring of SOP until it is taken over by the Election Commission (EC) on Nov 8 for the Melaka state polls," he said during a press conference in Parliament today.
Nominations for the Melaka state election have been set for Nov 8 while election day will be on Nov 20.
On Oct 24, Health Ministry Khairy Jamaluddin said a ban was placed on all political gatherings in Melaka from Oct 25 to Nov 27.
Hishammuddin said that the matter should not be further politicised.
"Under the existing SOP, weddings and official government events are allowed under Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).
"But I would like to remind that we cannot compare the environment under Phase Four and the environment during the state elections.
"If the SOP is something that we do not allow as announced previously, it will also be applied to the government," said Hishammuddin.
Asked if the SOP in Melaka will be the benchmark for future elections if it is implemented successfully, Hishammuddin said the government will learn from all of its previous experiences.
"The previous SOP for Sabah state elections has been updated for Melaka. If there is a necessity for other by-elections, or state elections, the National Security Council can help to ensure that it will be suitable for different situations," he added.
Several politicians including Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (PH-Kulim Bandar Bharu) have raised questions of the possibility of double standards when official government programmes are used to campaign for the Melaka state polls.