Malaysia says those who tested positive for Covid-19 can't vote in Sabah polls

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PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Those who have tested positive for Covid-19 are banned from voting in this weekend's Sabah election, said Senior Minister (Security cluster) Ismail Sabri Yaakob, amid suggestions that they should be allowed to vote by queueing up in special voting lanes.

Datuk Seri Ismail, who is in charge of security protocols for the coronavirus pandemic, said on Tuesday (Sept 22) that those who are under a quarantine order can still vote.

But these voters must first apply to their district health offices and would be accompanied by health officials to the polling centre.

"Special balloting areas are provided for those with (flu-like) symptoms," he told a press conference.

The Sabah state polls will be held on Saturday (Sept 26) after a 14-day campaigning period that started on Sept 12.

Early voting involving more than 16,800 members of security forces - the military and police - took place on Tuesday, as these men and women will be on duty on polling day.

Meanwhile, national police chief Abdul Hamid Bador took a stricter line by saying that 270 cops won't be allowed to vote, as they are under Covid-19 quarantine.

The holding of the snap polls in Malaysia's second biggest state alarmed some observers, as there has been a surge of virus infections in the state in the past few weeks.

But Mr Ismail said on Tuesday that stringent protocols are in place to avoid creating a polls cluster in Sabah.

Mr Ismail said the Election Commission had also provided different time slots for people to come out to vote to avoid congestion and a longer waiting period.

"Those who could not meet the time slot given can still vote, but we encourage people to stick to the given time slot to avoid congestion (at polling centres)," he said.

The minister also said that those returning to other Malaysian states after casting votes in Sabah need not be quarantined for 14 days.

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