MELAKA, Oct 28 — Social media will be the main platform used during campaigning for many of the parties contesting in the Melaka state election next month, political leaders here say.

This follows the move by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to ban election-related activities, gatherings or social gatherings, including election machinery launching ceremonies with effect from October 25 until November 27.

Taking heed from the compounds issued on two political parties yesterday for violating the ban and National Recovery Plan standard operating procedures (SOP), several local political leaders here agreed that strategies to woo voters must now change to suit new norms.

Bersatu Masjid Tanah MP Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin said the measures taken by the government have forced the party to switch from traditional to technology-based campaigning.

“There are pros and cons to the ban… while it is good that there will be less physical contact, which means logistics expenditure can be reduced, we still have to accept the fact that it is going to be a huge challenge in trying to reach out to voters,” she told Bernama today. 

Melaka Barisan Nasional (BN) Wanita chief Datuk Latipah Omar said MOH’s ban would not stop Umno and BN from having their own strategies to canvass for votes.

However, she still felt that the restrictions were unreasonable given the fact that Melaka has now entered Phase 4 of the National Recovery Plan and more than 90 per cent of Melaka’s adult population has been vaccinated.

Meanwhile, Melaka DAP election director Khoo Poay Tiong said while the party accepted the MOH’s decision and was ready to make its presence felt on social media during the campaign period, it was still concerned about internet connectivity issues in rural areas.

“Like it or not, we will have to rely on our existing social media platforms… campaigning in the new normal will be a totally different experience,” he said.

The Election Commission has set November 8 as the nomination day for the Melaka state election and November 20 for polling.

The Melaka State Legislative Assembly has 28 seats and the electoral roll contains 495,196 voters. — Bernama