Election Commission is becoming the most anachronistic and antiquated agency which goes against the government’s “Live with Covid” policy marking the transition of Covid-19 pandemic to an endemic and the opening up of the country and economy
The Election Commission is becoming the most anachronistic and antiquated agency which goes against the government’s “Live with Covid” policy marking the transition of Covid-19 pandemic to an endemic and the opening up of the country and economy.
Malacca is in Phase 4 of the Covid-19 Pandemic National Recovery Plan (NRP). Is the election SOP of the Sarawak general election going to be as strict as for the Malacca general election, although Malacca is in Phase 4 and Sarawak in Phase 3 of the NRP?
Will there be different election SOPs for Malacca and Sarawak because the two states are in different phases of the NRP?
The Election Commission has virtually imposed a total ban on all physical campaigning for the general election in Malacca which is most disadvantageous and to the detriment of Opposition parties, who do not have access to radio and television facilities.
It is clear that the Election Commission has completely disregarded its responsibility to ensure that the Malacca General Election is conducted in a “free, fair and clean” manner, instead of allowing any form of abuse of power and corrupt practice in the election.
Lawyers have said that the Health Ministry’s blanket ban on all physical campaigning in Malacca state general election is against the law and that the government should instead allow activities where physical distancing was possible but which also complied with SOPs to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infections.
The co-chair of the Bar Council’s Human Rights Committee, New Sin Yew had argued that the total ban on any election gatherings during the campaign period is contrary to the legal rights given to Malaysians under the Federal Constitution and the Election Offences Act, and “disproportionate and arbitrary given that most economic sectors and social activities have been relaxed all over the country.”
Lawyer Andrew Khoo said that the Election Commission’s (EC) standard operating procedures for the Malacca state general election should facilitate “genuine democracy” and should not prohibit indoor meetings and in-person rallies and campaigning with strict compliance to SOPs on masks and safe-distancing.
I urge the Election Commission to be mindful not to prohibit democracy by immediately revising the election SOPs for the Malacca general election which strike a proper balance between “free, fair and clean election” and the prevention of spread of Covid-19 infections.