PETALING JAYA (THE STAR / ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – As election fever mounts in Melaka, the Malaysian Ministry of Health has banned political rallies in the state from Monday, October 25 to November 27 due to concerns over Covid- 19.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said on Sunday that while there will be standard operating procedures (SOPs) for state elections, they will only take effect during the campaign period from November 8 and the ministry is concerned. that there are many mass gatherings before that.
“As Melaka is in phase four (of the national stimulus plan), social gatherings are allowed in accordance with the National Security Council’s SOPs. However, as recent rallies show, political parties (including mine) cannot not observe SOPs, ”said Khairy, who is a member of Umno.
“In the interest of public health, all political gatherings will now not be allowed in Melaka.”
Mr. Khairy said the ban on political gatherings will also include events to launch the party’s electoral mechanism.
He said the ministry’s decision is necessary because the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak is still high.
“With the announcement of the elections in Melaka State, the ministry expects that many social events related to the elections will be organized and will involve mass gatherings of individuals.
“As the risk of transmission of Covid-19 remains high, especially with the transmission of the Delta variant in the community and the increasing number of new cases reported, these political activities will only further increase the likelihood of further outbreaks of infection, ”Mr. Khairy said.
The ban will be imposed under the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Act 1988 (Act 342), which states that there should be no mass gatherings of people in any phase of the national recovery plan.
Mr. Khairy said any individual, organizer or organization can be subject to fines or legal action if found guilty of committing offenses under Law 342.
His statement came in light of viral videos and photos of political rallies linked to the Melaka election.
Nominations day for the Melaka elections will be November 8, with polling day set for November 20.