Amendments to SOP for elections in time of Covid-19 take into account MoH’s recommendations, Parliament told

An Election Commission officer checks on one of the voting booths at the Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil Trolak in Tanjung Malim August 29, 2020. — Bernama pic
An Election Commission officer checks on one of the voting booths at the Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil Trolak in Tanjung Malim August 29, 2020. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — Amendments and improvements to the Covid-19 Prevention Guidelines for the Implementation of Elections take into account three recommendations submitted by the Ministry of Health (MoH), said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Shabudin Yahaya.

He said the three recommendations were the ban on inter-state crossing, house to house campaign and gathering that involves large crowd.

“The Election Commission will draw up a stricter and comprehensive guideline to minimise the risk and infection of Covid-19 during the election process, including amendments to the guidelines used during the Sabah state election (PRN)," he said during a Special Chamber session in the Dewan Rakyat today.

He was responding to a question by Vivian Wong Shir Yee (PH-Sandakan) on a safe election process during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Taking into account the experience during the Sabah state election, the EC will provide face masks at all polling stations and all election officials are required to constantly monitor compliance with the prescribed standard operating procedures (SOP), especially on physical distancing.

Among the SOPs that were violated during the Sabah state election were not wearing face masks while at polling stations; failing to observe physical distancing and not recording attendance before leaving the polling station.

“Non-compliance with standard operating procedures by those involved in the Sabah state election, especially during the campaign activities, is one of the factors that increased the number of Covid-19 cases because in the by-elections held previously, namely the Chini and Slim by-elections, there was no report of new cluster," he added.

Shabudin said the EC would continue to study and consider views or suggestions from other parties to improve the implementation of the election process with issues on safety and health to be given priority in facing the Covid-19 epidemic. — Bernama

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