Meanwhile, in locations where voters may not be receptive to online campaigns, candidates have had to adopt precautionary measures against COVID-19 to reduce the risk of transmission while conducting physical campaigns.
Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) secretary-general Hamzah Zainudin, who is defending the Larut parliamentary seat in Perak, said that his team had sent face masks to constituents to help keep COVID-19 under control as online campaigning in villages can be a difficult task.
“Some groups want to conduct online campaigning but the village community may not receive our message. We have to go down to the ground and campaign from house to house,” said the caretaker home minister.
“Definitely, we have to meet as many people as possible to explain what we are going to do. We have released our manifesto. Now, we have to provide our explanation.”
In the Gombak parliamentary constituency in Selangor, Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Megat Zulkarnain Omardin of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) said that he adopted the approach of campaigning for small groups.
“I prefer what we call pocket campaigns. We engage with small groups,” he said.
He had also advised his workers against getting involved in campaigning if they felt unwell.
Candidates also emphasised the importance of following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in their campaign.
Selangor chief minister Amirudin Shaari said he often reminded his election workers and constituents engaged in campaigning to comply with the SOPs to curb the spread of COVID-19, including wearing face masks.
The PH candidate from PKR also said that he would not campaign face-to-face if unwell as he was well aware of the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
Similarly, Ampang (Selangor) incumbent member of parliament Zuraida Kamaruddin said that if stricken by COVID-19, she would campaign using video clips to deliver her message.
“I have many meetings with my electorate. I go down to the ground to meet the electors during campaigning. We have to be in touch with the electors. Social media is for campaigns at a national level. It is not effective in constituencies,” said the caretaker plantation industries and commodities minister.
INFECTED PERSONS WILL BE ALLOWED TO VOTE
On Monday (Nov 14), the Ministry of Health announced that voters who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be allowed to vote on the condition that they wear a mask, do not use public transport, and travel only to the voting centre and back home.
On Oct 31, caretaker health minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced that mask-wearing is “highly encouraged” in crowded areas amid a rise in COVID-19 cases.
He also said that candidates who test positive for COVID-19 during the campaigning period must be quarantined.
“If you’re a candidate who is positive, you have to isolate yourself for a few days but you can still campaign online. That is the responsible thing to do,” he said.
Mr Khairy added that political parties and candidates should set a good example by using face masks when in confined spaces, especially when there are senior citizens, or when canvassing for votes door-to-door.