Melaka polls: Some parties appealing against ban on physical gatherings

MELAKA: A number of political parties have appealed against the ban on gatherings and stricter standard operating procedures (SOP) for the upcoming Melaka state election, says caretaker chief minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali.

He said the appeals from the political parties are being looked into by the National Special Committee on Covid-19.

“The state National Security Council (NSC) will look into matters relating to the state election SOP once (Putrajaya) gives the nod.

“For now, we hope all political parties will abide by SOP until there is a decision,” he said after launching a decorative arch and doing a walkabout in conjunction with Deepavali at Little India along Jalan Bendahara here on Wednesday (Oct 27).

Sulaiman said the health and safety of citizens is more important, while political parties want to hold rallies and gatherings to woo voters.

“Let us wait and see if there is any flexibility on the SOP,” he said.

Sulaiman also received a warm reception as he visited the traders at Little India to wish business owners and customers "Happy Deepavali" along the street.

On Sunday (Oct 24), Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced there would be no election-related gatherings for the Melaka election.

The Election Commission will be also announcing the SOP for the state election soon.

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

On locations for Hindus in the state to perform solemn rites for departed souls, Sulaiman said several areas have been identified but the final process of procuring a suitable site could only be done when the new state government is formed after the Nov 20 election.

“As a caretaker state government, our power to decide on major matters is limited and hopefully the rights of Hindus in the state to have their own site materialises after the state election,” he added.

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