The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) urges the Election Commission (EC) to disallow all forms of physical campaigning in the lead-up to the Melaka polls.
We may be in the recovery phase, but we are still not out of the woods yet. Therefore, digital or virtual platforms should be used to campaign in order to prevent another Covid-19 surge.
We strongly advise against the traditional way of political campaigning, as any physical, face-to-face meetings between politicians and the people can lead to increased close contacts and the spread of Covid-19 in the state and even nationwide, now that interstate travel is allowed.
In the best interest of the people, the ‘old norm’ of political campaigning which involves house-to-house visits, gatherings and ceramahs should be avoided.
If the politicians truly have the best interest of the people at heart, they should show it by choosing ways to campaign that are safe and not put the people at risk of Covid-19.
For almost two years, the people had no choice but to adapt to the new norms of working from home and communicating using virtual or digital platforms. Many of us are still using these platforms to prevent possible exposure to Covid-19 through close contact.
For these same reasons, politicians should also adapt to the new norms, and campaign virtually.
It matters not that we have a high vaccination rate of over 90 per cent. Covid-19 is still spreading even among the fully vaccinated, who can be infected and transmit the disease to individuals who are at high risk, and the unvaccinated, which include children below 12 years old.
Recently, the health director-general had also expressed concern over the possibility that new variants could emerge from increased close contact during the campaigning period for the Melaka polls.
Although the authorities have given the assurance that strict SOPs will be in place, the question we should also be asking is who will be responsible if cases surge again in Melaka?
The mistakes and failures to control the spread of Covid-19 during the Sabah state elections held last year must not be repeated in Melaka. There has to be, and we must all insist on, full accountability this time around.
With most sectors opened now, and the country set on the road to recovery, the people are finally going back to their jobs and businesses to recover from months of losses in income.
Children are back to an almost normal schooling life, now that schools have reopened, while frontliners are finally getting some respite, with cases of Covid-19 on the downtrend.
What we don’t need now is another surge in Covid-19 cases.
Dr Koh Kar Chai is president of the Malaysian Medical Association.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.