PETALING JAYA: Electoral watchdog Bersih today demanded that the Election Commission (EC) review its SOPs for the upcoming Johor state elections which restrict voters who are Covid-19 positive from going to the polls.
According to the election SOPs issued by the EC, voters who are patients under investigation (PUI) and persons under surveillance (PUS) also need to apply to the district health office to obtain permission to leave their residence and go to the polling station. This permission is subject to a health risk assessment.
“This is a violation of Article 119 (1) of the Federal Constitution which gives those eligible the right to vote,” the Bersih steering committee said in a statement.
“The EC, as the body empowered to manage the electoral process, should create the best mechanism to enable these voters to exercise their rights instead of preventing them from doing so.
“Also, the district health office does not have the power to give anyone permission to vote.”
Bersih urged the EC and the health ministry to provide special facilities for such people to vote.
On ceramahs, election campaigns, and physical gatherings, Berish said these should not be restricted to party offices and official operations rooms.
“Bersih urges the EC to reconsider this matter and allow ceramahs to be held in open areas such as fields or large car parks, with strict SOPs such as wearing of face masks and use of hand sanitisers.
“Those attending must be seated and spaced out at least one-metre apart,” it added.
Johor will go to the polls on March 12, with nomination day set for Feb 26 and early voting taking place on March 8.
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