Health DG calls for power to stop elections
Published on: Friday, October 30, 2020
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File photo: Bernama
PUTRAJAYA: Amendments should be made in the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 for the health ministry to prevent elections for safety reasons, says health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Speaking at a press conference today, Noor Hisham said now was not the time to carry out elections because the country’s current infection rate (R0) had not reached the ministry’s target of less than 0.5.

He said amendments to the Act would be timely, adding that the Act was already in review even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country.

“Back in 1988, we were only looking at infectious diseases within a locality but now we have to look at it on a nationwide and even global scale. We need to amend and strengthen the Act for future use.

“We have sent a proposal for amendments to the Attorney-General’s Chambers and we hope they will be reviewed as soon as possible.”

He said the health ministry currently had no power to cancel any elections and could only discuss with the Election Commission about setting certain procedures in place for future elections.

“The ministry understands the need to hold an election according to the law. If we must carry one out, although now is not a suitable time, we need to look at the principles of no inter-district or inter-state travel, no campaigns and no walkabouts or house-to-house visits.”

He added that the conditional movement control order (CMCO) had proven effective, as the country’s R0 had decreased to 1.0 from 2.2 when the third wave began on Sept 20.

Due to lockdown restrictions, he also said the country’s cases had not reached four digits daily as previously predicted, and urged the public to continue staying at home for the R0 to drop below 0.5 in the next two weeks.


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