Selangor Journal
Pakatan Harapan, Barisan Nasional and Perikatan Nasional flags are pictured along a road in Gombak leading up to the 15th general election, on November 5, 2022. — Picture by HAFIZ OTHMAN/SELANGORKINI

GE15: Covid-19 complicates election process

By Sulyn Chong

SHAH ALAM, Nov 14 — The latest wave of Covid-19 cases seem to have put a damper on election campaign processes for the ongoing 15th general election (GE15).

Nevertheless, Bernama reported that electoral candidates and campaign workers are taking the necessary precautions to prevent infection and, if stricken by the bug, are resorting to alternative means to send their message across to the electors.

This has been case with two Pakatan Harapan (Harapan) candidates in Perak who are reported to be confirmed Covid-positive, namely the candidate for Simpang Pulai state seat Wong Chai Yi and the parliamentary candidate for Gopeng Tan Kar Hing.

Wong was confirmed positive on November 9 and albeit a hindrance, it did not stop her from continuing her duties during the election campaign, as her team helped her record video clips for screening at ceremahs.

Alternatively, she has also given online talks while under quarantine.

The electoral team is said to play a pivotal role during the candidates’ quarantine period as they have to ensure that their candidates’ messages are conveyed to the voters.

Hence, social media platforms as well as the internet are used to the maximum extent to interact with the community.

“Social media is still a platform for me to run my campaign, regardless of whether I am in quarantine or not. I also utilise (the live streaming application) Streamyard at home and project it on a screen at ceramah locations besides campaigning life on Facebook,” Wong said when contacted.

Tan, who completed his quarantine on November 11, said he mostly conducted virtual campaigns when confined at home.

His team had also hooked up video calls for him at public spaces such as food courts and markets.

Meanwhile, Selangor Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Amirudin Shari, who is Harapan’s candidate for the Gombak parliamentary seat, said he would not campaign face-to-face if he was unwell as he is well aware of the rising number of Covid-19 cases of late.

He added that he often reminds his election team and constituents engaged in campaigning to comply with the SOPs to curb the spread of Covid-19, including wearing face masks.

As for former federal territories minister Khalid Abdul Samad, who is the Harapan candidate for the Titiwangsa parliamentary seat in Kuala Lumpur, he said he has observed the Covid-19 SOPs while campaigning and will resort to online campaigning through video clips, WhatsApp and Twitter if stricken with the bug.

Many electors, too, are exercising caution, by wearing face masks and using hand sanitisers frequently when attending face-to-face ceramahs.

They are all wary of the 57.3 per cent hike in the number of cases to 26,616 in the week ending November 5.

This is up from 16,917 in the previous week, as announced by director-general of Health Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah on November 7.

Candidates are reminded to exercise greater caution as campaigns are bound to intensify in the next five days before polling day, which is set for November 19.

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