Organiser of Malaysian PM event in Melaka gets $6,500 fine for breaching social distancing rules

A woman taking a selfie with Malaysian PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob (third from right) at a food court near Asahan, Melaka. PHOTO: BERNAMA
Malaysian PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob (seated, left) posing with local residents at a food court near Asahan, Melaka. PHOTO: BERNAMA

MELAKA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The organiser of an event in Melaka, which was attended by Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, has been slapped with a RM20,000 (S$6,500) fine.

According to a Jasin district health officer, the fine was issued to the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition's polling centre chief on Sunday (Nov 14) for failing to ensure social distancing during a meet-and-greet function at a foodcourt near Asahan in the Jasin district.

"Yes, that's all I can say," said the health officer who wants to remain anonymous.

Datuk Seri Ismail arrived at the foodcourt around noon, where he was received by about 60 supporters, who are from BN and his Umno party.

This is the first visit to the state by the premier since campaigning for the Melaka state election started on Nov 8.

Mr Ismail was well received by local residents, many of whom mobbed him for selfies.

Prior to Mr Ismail's arrival, former prime minister and former Umno president Najib Razak had also met locals in the same area.

Many of the locals also flocked around Najib and requested to take their pictures with him.

Local reporters attempted to approach the BN polling centre chief, but he refused to divulge any details.

"If I say anything, then I'll be fined again," he said briefly, before leaving the area.

Politicians have descended into Melaka and attended various events, despite a ban on political gatherings to prevent a fresh wave of Covid-19 cases.

Political rallies, walkabouts and distribution of pamphlets directly to the public are not allowed. The federal government said the decision to ban political gatherings was made in the interest of public health, after the Sabah state election in September last year triggered a surge in Covid-19 infections.

The only form of physical campaigning allowed is the use of loudspeakers from vehicles at fixed times and with a police permit.

Voters will go to the polls next Saturday to elect representatives to the 28 seats in the Melaka state legislative assembly.

Melaka has 495,195 registered voters, with 71.6 per cent of them aged between 21 and 59 years old.

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