PUTRAJAYA, Oct 27 — The Health Ministry (MoH) has recommended that no election be held for the time being, says its director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
However, he said, if the election could not be avoided, in following the Federal Constitution, it would hold a discussion with the Election Commission (EC) to look into different means of conducting the election.
“(Firstly), no cross-border and no cross-district (travel), and no ‘balik kampung’ for the election. Secondly, no (mass) gatherings, and thirdly, no house-to-house visits. These are the three main issues that we need to discuss with the EC, and whether we can implement the use of postal votes and so on. We can continue to discuss with the EC to improve the situation.
“As far as MOH is concerned, we only give recommendations. If it cannot be avoided, you still have to do the election, under the Constitution, then we have to look into the SOP (standard operating procedure) on how we can conduct the election and minimise infection.
“Even though the SOP is available, more importantly, is compliance with the SOP. I think we have seen and learned this from Sabah (election). We hope we don’t need to repeat the consequences of an election in other states,” he said at a press conference on the update of Covid-19 at the ministry, here, today.
Earlier, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government would discuss with the EC to set a tighter SOP for the Batu Sapi parliamentary by-election on December 5, to ensure the people’s health would not be compromised when they go out to vote in the by-election.
Ismail Sabri also said that the government was not empowered to disallow the holding of any election as the matter was under the jurisdiction of the EC.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham also advised every non-governmental organisation (NGO), planning to assist those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, to do so under the MOH.
He said this would ensure that all participants would receive basic training such as infection control and achieve coordination in terms of where to go and what to do, hence, both parties could complement each other.
“There are two types of NGOs. One, they go on their own without informing the MOH. But our fear is that they (NGO members) will get infected, especially those who do not have experience in infection control. The intention is good but we also need to protect the NGOs.
“Look at our frontliners, even they get infected, what more the NGO members going to the ground. We also have a few NGO members already forming a cluster after coming back from Sabah. In Selangor, for example, a few of our staff also got infected,” he added.