Ahmad Faizal says Melaka election candidates may circumvent ban on political gathering by using wedding, birthday receptions to meet voters

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu is pictured at Parliament, Kuala Lumpur October 5, 2021. — Bernama pic
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu is pictured at Parliament, Kuala Lumpur October 5, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — A top Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) leader has expressed concerns over political parties, especially election candidates, using social gatherings as an alternative to approach voters if a total ban on political gatherings ahead of the Melaka state election persists.

Bersatu deputy president Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu noted that various parties have disputed the Health Ministry’s prohibition as Melaka has already transitioned into Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

“Today, if the government prohibits political parties from organising events for face-to-face gatherings, then wedding events, birthdays will be used by political parties to have face-to-face meetings.

“I am worried that whatever the ministry had proposed through health experts will not be adhered to because we use the flaws in the standard operating procedure for our own interest which will ultimately be detrimental to the people,” he was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today.

However, Ahmad Faizal urged all political parties, especially election candidates, to put the interests and safety of the people first when campaigning.

“I am urging all political members and political parties to put the interest and safety of the people as the highest priority because there is no use if we achieve victory but get infected by Covid-19.

“What is the point if we succeed in forming the government, but the rakyat gets infected en masse?” he said.

He also said Bersatu will adhere to the SOPs set by the Health Ministry, adding that the party will use alternative channels such as social media to present their manifesto and candidates’ strength.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Health (MoH) announced that it is prohibiting all activities, gatherings or social meetings related to political campaigning for next month’s Melaka poll.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin cited the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988, also known as Act 342, for the prohibition.

Khairy said based on provisions under subsection 10(1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Declaration of Infected Local Areas) of the NRP made under subsection 11(2) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342), no gatherings will  be allowed.

Under subsection 10(1), no one is allowed to organise any gatherings at any premises or area of infection be it for religious, weddings, sports, recreation, social or cultural purposes regardless of the recovery phase.

The same day, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng chided Khairy for banning all physical gatherings due to Covid-19 ahead of the upcoming Melaka state election.

The Bagan MP alleged that the decision was made as the Perikatan Nasional ruling coalition is afraid to face voters following recent events.

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