Malaysia health director-general: Don't hold elections for now

The minister said that the country should learn from the Sabah election, which became the starting point of the current pandemic wave in the state and the rest of the country.
The minister said that the country should learn from the Sabah election, which became the starting point of the current pandemic wave in the state and the rest of the country.PHOTO: AFP

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - It is recommended that polls should be put off for the time being with the Covid-19 situation still at a severe stage, says Health director-general Tan Sri Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The country should learn from the Sabah election, which became the starting point of the current pandemic wave in the state and the rest of the country, he added.

"Even though there are SOPs (standard operating procedures), more important is whether the people comply with the SOP.

"We have learned from Sabah. We hope not to repeat the consequences of having an election in other states, " said Dr Noor Hisham at the ministry's Covid-19 press conference here.

The Sarawak election must be held before August 2021.

There is plenty of speculation that the state government might decide to call for polls soon.

The Batu Sapi by-election in Sabah, which was triggered by the death of incumbent Datuk Seri Liew Vui Keong, is scheduled for a Dec 5 polling day. Nomination has been set for Nov 23.

Dr Noor Hisham said while the ministry can recommend, it is up to the government and the Election Commission (EC) to decide whether to hold elections.

"Our recommendation is not to have an election. But if it needs to be held, perhaps we need to look at different means to organise it.

"Perhaps we can impose that there will be no crossing of district borders, no organising of large gatherings and no house to house visits.

"We may also consider using postal votes, " said Dr Noor Hisham.

Earlier, Dr Noor Hisham announced Malaysia has recorded 835 new Covid-19 infections on Tuesday (Oct 27), a slight drop from the previous day's record daily hike of 1,240 cases.

Sabah which recorded a high 927 cases on Monday, saw a significant reduction with 410 cases on Tuesday.

In the Klang Valley, there are 138 cases or 16.5 per cent of Tuesday's total -with Selangor recording 125 cases, Kuala Lumpur with nine and Putrajaya with one.

The country also reported two new Covid-19 fatalities, bringing the death toll to 238.

On the two new death cases, Dr Noor Hisham said the two victims - an 82-year-old man and a 53-year-old woman - both died at the Tawau Hospital.

The country discharged 674 patients, which means the total number of recoveries is 18,499.

Active cases in the country have gone up to 9,903.

In total, Malaysia has recorded 28,640 Covid-19 cases since January.