Ceramahs, public speeches and physical campaigns are not allowed during the Melaka state election, Election Commission (EC) chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh said today.
In a media conference after the nomination of candidates, he urged all parties involved in the election to comply with the SOPs to prevent the spread of Covid-19 during the Melaka election.
He said banned activities include house-to-house visits, walkabouts and the distribution of pamphlets to members of the public face-to-face.
Based on his statement in the EC portal, the SOPs stipulate that candidates or members of the party machinery are allowed to put up banners and buntings during the election as well as to distribute pamphlets through the post box of residents by observing physical distancing of at least one meter. These activities are also limited to groups of three people.
To campaign, Ghani said candidates are encouraged to use social applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Wechat, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Telegram and other applications to deliver campaign messages.
He said campaigns can also use television networks and local newspapers, and that candidates should utilise technology for their campaign in line with the new normal following the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Candidates are also subject to Election Offences Act 1954 (Act 5) during the campaign and any forms of campaign via the mass media on polling day is not allowed,” he said.
Only candidates who have police permits are allowed to campaign on vehicles using loud hailers at stipulated times and places to deliver ceramahs.
Ghani said only one committee room (party operations room) is allowed to operate for each candidate of a constituency during the campaign period with a limit of 50% capacity while observing physical distancing. Mini operations room are not allowed.
Those involved should also take RTK Ag self-tests every two days during the campaign period, bearing the cost of this themselves. The results of the tests should be uploaded on the MySejahtera application.
Only those with negative results are allowed to be involved in campaign activities.
Party meetings are limited to two hours with a frequency not exceeding four times a week. Only fully vaccinated individuals are allowed to participate, subject to 50% premise capacity and with physical distancing.
Media conferences after party meetings are allowed for fully vaccinated individuals including journalists.
For early voting and on polling day, party or candidate agents who have completed their duties or voters who have finished casting their votes should promptly leave the polling station. Voters should check their voting information through the mySPR Semak application or Semakan Daftar Pemilih SPR portal.
“This is to control the number of voters coming to polling stations at any one time. The suggested schedule of timing is from 8am to 10am, 10am to 12 noon, 12 noon to 2pm, and 2pm to 4.30pm,” Ghani said.
Voters with symptoms such as cough or sore throat, or those having difficulty in breathing or body temperature exceeding 37.5 degrees Celsius should be isolated and allowed to vote at a separate tent.
Symptomatic voters should be double masked and wear disposable rubber gloves before holding the ballot paper at the voting cubicle and those assisting symptomatic voters should be in full personal protection equipment.
Voters who are positive for Covid-19 will not be allowed to leave their place of treatment such as hospital, quarantine centre or house as they could pass the infection to others. Voters who are patients under investigation and persons under surveillance and who wish to vote will be allowed to do so with the approval of the district health officer.
Voters in areas under enhanced movement control order need to take a RTK Ag test 24 hours before the voting date. Only voters who test negative can obtain police approval to go out to vote.
For the official tallying of votes, only five supporters for the winning candidate (unofficial result) and three supporters for other candidates are allowed to be present.
“Victory celebrations by candidates are not allowed,” Ghani said.