Asia

Melaka goes to the polls under Covid-19 restrictions

MELAKA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – The polls have opened for the 15th Melaka state election amid the Covid-19 pandemic on Saturday (Nov 20).

Some 476,037 eligible voters will cast their votes from 8am to 5.30pm across 217 polling district centres in 28 state seats. They will decide the fate of the 112 candidates vying for the seats.

The state election is witnessing a battle of the behemoths with political powerhouses Barisan Nasional, Perikatan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan fielding candidates in all 28 state seats.

The Election Commission has outlined a Covid-19 prevention guide during the whole voting process to ensure the safety of the people can be protected.

Voters are required to wear face masks, undergo body temperature checks, use hand sanitisers and practise physical distancing.

Early voting on Nov 16 saw an 89.9 per cent turnout, with 10,390 voters, consisting of police, military personnel and their spouses casting their ballots.

Voters can cast their vote between 8am and 5.30pm but the Election Commission has cautioned them to not wait until the last minute to so.

The election is being held following the dissolution of the state assembly after four assemblymen, withdrew their support for former chief minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali.

Many Melakans are prepared to cast their ballots as they believe it is necessary to exercise their constitutional duty as citizens.

Mohd Duquore Duleq Mohd Bazain, 33, an online marketer, said he would vote at the Bukit Katil constituency to make sure his voice was heard.

He added that this would be the third time he would be casting his vote here.

“My hope is that I will be able to pick leaders who can execute and fulfil all their responsibilities,” he said.

Mr Duquore Duleq added that the new state government must be able to provide a suitable ecosystem to support local businesses, especially youth, and help steer them towards post-Covid-19 recovery.

“They also need to identify those who are less fortunate and fall under the lower income category so they will not be left behind in Bukit Katil,” he added.

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Kesidang voter MK Tan, 45, said he would still make his vote count despite feeling unhappy at how the state polls were carried out.

“I still want to support my choice of candidate this time around and I hope this candidate will bring forward our voices to the state assembly.

“I hope the future leaders of Melaka will push for an anti-hopping law to deter defectors. Immature politicians who only care for their own personal agendas will only cost the people and the country its future. They should not be encouraged,” said the engineer from Lorong Pandan.

The election was called after the dissolution of the state assembly when four assemblymen withdrew their support for the state government then led by Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali.

As of Friday, Pengkalan Batu voter Bok Kam Yin, 71, said she was still undecided on coming out to vote on Saturday.

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“My children are still worried about the Covid-19 situation as the infection rate has been climbing recently.

“They told me to prioritise my health and safety,” she said, adding that this state election was not meaningful as it was “forced upon the people”.

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