KUALA LUMPUR: Tighter standard operating procedures (SOP) are needed in the upcoming Melaka state election because Covid-19 transmission rates remain high in the state, says Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.
The Deputy Health Minister said Melaka recorded 262 new cases as of Sunday (Oct 24) with 2,651 active cases statewide.
“In fact, nearly 6,000 close contacts with active cases are currently under supervision,” he said during his speech on the annulment of the Emergency Ordinances in Parliament on Monday (Oct 25).
He also pointed out that sporadic cases stood at a high of 36%.
Dr Noor Azmi said due to this, gatherings during political campaigning could cause a surge in Covid-19 cases.
“That is why we are taking a serious approach by tightening the SOP.
“Based on the experience of the Sabah state election, the government is trying its best to ensure that a similar situation won’t occur in Melaka,” he said.
A spike in Covid-19 cases was believed to be triggered after the Sabah polls took place in September last year.
Daily Covid-19 figures had surged to a high of over 20,000 cases a day in August.
As of Monday (Oct 25), there were 4,782 new cases.
Earlier in the Dewan Rakyat, the ban on public gatherings was also supported by Steven Choong (Independent-Tebrau) who said that it would prevent Covid-19 cases from rising.
“In politics, we must know when to prioritise the people’s health as our main agenda.
“Unfortunately, some of us who are selfish have caused the Melaka state election to take place at an unsuitable time,” said Choong.
Opposition MPs such as Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (PH-Setiawangsa) called for equal media access for all parties involved in the Melaka polls.
“In Singapore’s election last year, they introduced a guideline of how to reach voters through TV and media.
“I urge the government to do the same,” he said.
On Sunday (Oct 24), Health Ministry Khairy Jamaluddin said a ban was placed on all political gatherings in Melaka from Oct 25 to Nov 27.
“As the risk of transmission of Covid-19 remains high, especially with the transmission of the Delta variant in the community and the growing number of new cases, these political activities will only further increase the likelihood of more infections,” Khairy said.
Nominations have been set for Nov 8 with polling on Nov 20.