MELAKA, Nov 8 — Melaka BN chairman Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh arrived at the Tanjung Bidara nomination centre this morning to submit his candidacy for the state election.
Despite a prohibition by the authorities for any form of political gathering to prevent the spread of the highly contagious Covid-19 — which is still totting up thousands of cases daily nationwide — he was accompanied by some 50 supporters during his walk to the nomination centre.
The entourage threw caution to the wind and crowded around the politician. They dispersed only after the police intervened.
Ab Rauf reached the nomination centre at 8.50am.
In contrast, his political rivals from Pakatan Harapan Zainal Hassan, and Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin from Bersatu, were already waiting at the nomination centre, which opens its doors at 9am sharp.
The Election Commission accepted the nomination papers submitted by the three politicians. With this, Tanjung Bidara is confirmed to be a three-way fight, barring any of the trio pulling out mid-stream.
As soon as the nomination papers were verified, EC officials told all those gathered, including members of the press, to disperse and follow the Covid-19 resignations.
Outside the nomination centre, Ab Rauf told reporters that this election contest doesn’t just pit him against two other people but also against the different politics espoused by their coalitions since all three have been in government prior to today.
“This is not merely a contest between me and two others and who is more popular but it is a contest between governments.
“Pakatan Harapan took over in May 9, 2018. Then a new government came into play last year. So everyone is choosing the government that they want,” the Umno veteran said.
Ab Rauf was asked to comment on the new guidelines for candidates issued by the Election Commission earlier today.
He acknowledged the ban on all physical social activities during the campaign season, including house visits and ceramah.
But Ab Rauf asked the authorities to issue a much more detailed list.
“I implore the EC and the National Security Council to issue a much more detailed list. I do not want to interpret the prohibition inaccurately and get fined. For example, if i am sitting down having coffee with people in the cafe could that be considered as an offence too?
“So we need better clarity on this,” he replied.
Prior to the elections, the Health Ministry announced a ban on political gatherings and any social events stemming from the state polls, starting October 25 to November 27.
Today, the EC had issued its own list of dos-and-don’ts for candidates for the entire duration of the official campaigning period starting today until November 19.
Polling day is November 20.