PUTRAJAYA, March 21 — The Health Ministry (MOH) is discussing with the Election Commission (EC) to develop a safe protocol for COVID-19 positive voters to cast their ballots in the 15th general election (GE15) said its minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
“COVID-19 will stay with us. If we deny them of their rights (positive voters) to vote, we are denying a constitutional right,” he said in a media conference after launching the annual report of Clinical Research Malaysia (CRM) 2021 and the Phase 1 Realisation Project (P1RP) report here today.
On the polling day of the Johor state election on March 12, a voter was fined RM1,000 for showing up to vote despite being under quarantine for COVID-19 infection.
Khairy said MOH and EC are thinking the best measures for COVID-19 positive voters to carry out their responsibility to the nation.
“Some said let those infected with COVID-19 to use postal vote but how would it be for those who were infected one or two days before polling day?
“If they wish to vote, who are going to take them or which channel to use. Should we have a special channel for COVID-19 patients …so this matter needs more time,” said Khairy.
Khairy said public health should be the important priority when discussing GE15 and the date it would be held.
“We need to find the most suitable timing and period of lowest risk to hold GE15 as it involves the people going out to campaign and vote,” he said.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was earlier reported as saying the issue of Parliament’s dissolution to make way for GE15 would be discuss among the ‘Top Five’ of UMNO and if UMNO is confident of winning, it would not be delayed not even for a second.
In this regard, Khairy said MOH is now studying to detect the effects of COVID-19 Omicron BA.2 variant in the country.
“Now we are facing Omicron BA.2 and its effects on a single case and serious impact is being studied so that we can make a conclusion if we are heading towards a pandemic,” he said.