Monday, January 24, 2022

Health authorities considering SOP leeway for campaigns in Sarawak rural areas

Internet access is one of the main factors under consideration.

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Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today said that the authorities are considering giving some amount of leeway for campaigns in rural parts of Sarawak for the upcoming state election.

Speaking at a press conference, he said the Sarawak state secretary had submitted requests that differed slightly from those for the recently concluded election in Melaka.

“Different areas do not have internet access,” he said. “So the health ministry has held a series of discussions with the Sarawak government.”

Adding that several issues need the agreement of the health ministry and Election Commission, he said it was the duty of Deputy Health Minister II Aaron Ago Dagang to finalise the matters under discussion regarding requests based on locality.

A copy of proposed SOPs for the Sarawak election dated Nov 4 shared by the Sarawak Public Communication Unit says that campaigns and lectures will only be allowed at villages and longhouses in certain state constituencies.

Only the candidates or politicians contesting will be allowed to do campaign, subject to a maximum headcount of eight people, as well as official government workers.

Likewise, it states that house-to-house visits throughout the campaign period will be prohibited except in village areas and longhouses in certain state constituencies.

The Melaka election on Nov 20 was held under tight health SOPs with an unprecedented ban on face-to-face campaigning and house visits. Candidates were advised to campaign mostly on social media platforms, which led to concerns over the effectiveness of outreach efforts ahead of polling day.

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