KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 — Despite the spread of Covid-19 throughout Sabah, Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced today that those travelling from Sabah to other parts of Malaysia do not have to undergo a mandatory quarantine.
Besides Sabah voters travelling to the state for the election this Saturday, politicians across the divide have also been travelling from the peninsula and Sarawak to Sabah for campaigning during the past several days since nomination day on September 12.
“Those returning from Sabah to either Peninsula, Sarawak, or to Labuan do not have to be quarantined for 14 days, either at home or at quarantine centres,” the senior defence minister told a press conference.
However, he said that those with Covid-19 symptoms will have to do a swab test upon arrival in either the peninsula, Sarawak, or Labuan.
The senior defence minister also encouraged asymptomatic individuals who are returning from Tawau, Lahad Datu or other areas in Sabah with a high number of coronavirus cases to get screened for their own safety.
Tawau and Lahad Datu have been declared as red zones reporting 420 and 126 local positive Covid-19 cases respectively within the past 14 days as of yesterday. Covid-19 cases have also been reported in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Tuaran, Beaufort, Kunak, Papar, Semporna, Kudat, Pitas, Keningau, and Tongod.
During his press conference reporting on Malaysia’s Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), Ismail Saabri said that individuals who have tested positive with Covid-19 and are being treated in hospital are not allowed to go out to vote during the upcoming elections in Sabah.
“They are not allowed to go out to vote. We do not allow because we are afraid that they will spread the infection outside,” the senior defence minister said.
He listed the categories of voters for Sabah’s upcoming state elections this Saturday as below:
- First: Normal voters who are encouraged to be present for voting at a fixed time given and will have to maintain standard operating procedures (SOPs).
- Second: Voters with symptoms will be brought to a specific voting place that will be fixed by the Election Commission of Malaysia.
- Third: Voters who are undergoing quarantine at quarantine centres will be allowed to vote, but will have to seek permission from the district health office first. Once allowed, they can be present to vote at a special place fixed by the Election Commission.
- Fourth: Voters who tested positive with Covid-19 are not allowed to vote.
The senior defence minister said that individuals will be given a specific time to follow to be present for voting. However, they are only encouraged to follow the fixed time, while those who are unable to comply may still vote.
“I hope the voters don’t misunderstand that if they are not able to go during the fixed time, they can’t vote.”
He also said that the schools that will be used as voting centres will have to be sanitised first before the voting day.
He stressed that during the state elections, all those involved should practice a strict SOP, like wearing a face mask, especially if social distancing is not practiced.
Political campaigns like home campaigns are allowed if necessary, but restricted to one to two persons, whereas rallies are restricted to only 30 people.