Malaysian PM event in Melaka slapped with $6,500 fine for breaching social distancing rules

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 food court 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 food court 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 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 ex-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 restaurant.

Politicians have descended into Melaka and attended various events, despite a ban on political gatherings.

Political rallies, walkabouts and distribution of pamphlets directly to the public are not allowed, with the federal government saying this would prevent a surge in Covid-19 cases in Melaka, as seen in the state election in Sabah in September last year.

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 of age.

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