Government May Regulate Election Campaigns If People Flout Covid SOPs: Minister

Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof says the government’s Covid-19 testing is only for close contacts of positive cases and those who have symptoms.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 — The government may consider drafting new legislation to regulate elections if the public ignore Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs), Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof said today.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for special functions told the Dewan Rakyat today that gatherings or campaigning during elections is one of the factors that could lead to a spike of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia.

Redzuan also said that it will be up to the Election Commission (EC) to decide whether or not an election should be held.

“The government always helps. Among the efforts is to include the new norms into the community to allow agencies like the Election Commission to research and evaluate whether a by-election can be carried out or not,” the Alor Gajah MP said.

He was responding to Jelebu MP Jalaluddin Alias, who asked if the government will draft new laws to shorten the campaign period or change campaigning methods during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is in the power of the Election Commission and I cannot give more information whether a by-election or a general election can or cannot be held.

“However, if the people continue to disregard the new norm, then the government will mull formulating such laws.”

Umno recently said that they want a general election to establish a stable government once the Covid-19 pandemic is brought under control with a minimum number of cases. The Batu Sapi by-election in Sabah is scheduled for December 5.

However, it was noted by CodeBlue that Sabah’s Covid-19 cases were doubling faster after the Sabah state election in September, which even led to Sabah having a high average incidence rate of Covid-19 cases of 14.85 per 100,000 people daily, almost six times higher than the nation’s average incidence rate, between October 13 to October 26.

Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun (DAP) also asked the minister to state in the Dewan Rakyat today on the government’s preparedness in curbing the spread of Covid-19 pandemic that is now in the third wave and the probability of the pandemic continuing for the next few years, as well as measures taken to overcome the adverse effects of the pandemic on the country and to the people.

Mohd Redzuan told Fong that the government will continuously monitor Covid-19 cases in Malaysia and if there is a spike in the number of cases in any areas, the government will carry out either a conditional movement control order or a targeted enhanced movement control order in that specific locality or an area.

“Screening for Covid-19 that we are conducting is only for those who are symptomatic and close contacts to person under surveillance who are positive, and not done to all the residents in Malaysia because as long there’s no vaccine, anyone can get infected at any time by this virus,” Mohd Redzuan told the Dewan Rakyat today.

“The best preventive measure is to cultivate and practice new norms of life like social distancing and adherence to cleanliness such as frequent hand washing with soap or sanitiser.”

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