Weekly Highlights

What is the government’s plan on voting safely during a pandemic?

Bandar Kuching MP, Dr. Kelvin Yii wants to ensure that Malaysians including those from East Malaysia will be able to vote safely, should the elections be held in the midst of a pandemic.

Dr. Kelvin will be submitting 15 Parliamentary Questions centered around health, education, and Sarawakian rights for the newly formed government to answer in the upcoming Parliamentary session starting from 6th September 2021.

One of the most important topics that must be answered by the new government is regarding the implementation of electoral reforms to provide a safer voting environment for Malaysians.

This is especially important since there may be an upcoming Sarawak State Elections and the possible General Elections as early as next year.

With the formation of new variants combined with our slow national vaccine rollout there is no guarantee that the pandemic is coming to an end any time soon.

“I strongly believe that a conventional election during this pandemic will be disastrous, and an election must not be called until all necessary electoral reforms are implemented to protect the safety and health of all Sarawakians and ensure that all can exercise their democratic right to vote in a safer environment.” – Dr. Kelvin Yii

Dr. Kelvin is right to be concerned especially after the disastrous Sabah state elections which triggered the resurgence of Covid-19 in Malaysia.

Malaysia must look to other countries like South Korea which has been praised by international health experts for its extensive precautions at polling places and miraculously reported no new cases after its April election.

South Korea was the first country to hold national elections during the Covid-19 pandemic

So how did South Korea do it? They started with having a comprehensive Covid-19 national plan which emphasized comprehensive system for testing, tracking, and contact tracing. South Korea never had a lockdown.

Each volunteer volunteer received two face masks, gloves and a face shield. Every corner of registration and ballot-counting desks was stocked with hand sanitizer. There were specific instructions on social distancing texted to every citizen. There were officials to ensure social distancing was observed, while wash basins and hand sanitizers were prepared as you enter the polling station.

Each polling station was disinfected numerous times throughout the day.

Even those who were self quarantined and tested positive with Covid-19 was allowed to vote by preparing outdoor polling stations and installing an app that tracked their movements from the polling station, right back to their homes.

There must be an answer for allowing Malaysians exercise their constitutional right and making sure that it’s safe.

Just like South Korea however, there must be a reset in containing the pandemic in the first place. Dr. Kelvin Yii pointed out that Sabah specifically has been struggling with an overwhelmed health care system coupled with low vaccine coverage and low capacity to expand ICU capacity.

A new government should come with an entire new strategy to defeating Covid-19 as the previous government could not handle the task. PN unfortunately left the country in a worse state than it was before they had taken over.

The new strategy should include the government’s plan to re-open schools safely in the midst of the pandemic and help those students who have been left behind. These decisions must be based on science and data and the government must have a comprehensive plan to deal with this as we approach 3rd October 2021.

Dr. Kelvin in his press statement released today will also be demanding a report card from the Ministry of Sabah & Sarawak Affairs especially to discuss what the Special Council on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) that was formed under the PN government has done throughout these 1.5 years.

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