Government Cannot Impose Travel Ban For Batu Sapi by-Election


KUALA LUMPUR: The government cannot restrict anyone from travelling interdistrict or interstate to vote in the Batu Sapi by-election, scheduled to be held next month, says Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said the right to vote was guaranteed in the Federal Constitution and all individuals must be able to cast their votes by adhering to the standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the Election Commission (EC) to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“If we impose restrictions, it is against the Constitution and they (voters) can challenge it in court for restricting their freedom to vote.

“So, those who work in Kuala Lumpur but originate from Batu Sapi must be allowed to return to vote and come back, but the SOP will be tightened to avoid a spike in (COVID-19) cases as what happened during the Sabah state election,” he said at a press conference on developments of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), here, today.

He said the new SOP for the Batu Sapi by-election which would to be held on Dec 5 had been prepared in line with the increase of COVID-19 cases but it still required improvement.

The EC had previously set several guidelines for the Batu Sapi by-election including no face-to-face campaigning and house visits by candidates or their supporters.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri said the National Security Council would present its suggestions to improve the SOP in areas placed under the Conditional Movement Control Order following the increase in COVID-19 cases, especially in Selangor.

“We have received many suggestions, some want us to tighten it and some suggest that we be more proactive in the yellow zones.

“However, the suggestions will be discussed in detail so that whatever action taken will not adversely affect the economic sector and people’s lives, and at the same time to continue with the COVID-19 preventive measures,” he added.

On the Deepavali celebration, Ismail Sabri said the SOP for the festival would be announced soon after the Health Ministry completed its their evaluation of the draft tabled by National Unity Minister, Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique last Friday.