EC may face legal action if Covid-19 patients don’t get to vote, warns Bersih

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PETALING JAYA: Bersih 2.0 says the Election Commission (EC) could face legal action if it fails to facilitate voting for Covid-19 positive patients in Sabah on Saturday.

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In a statement, Bersih said a citizen’s right to vote is enshrined under Article 119(1) of the Federal Constitution, adding that no government minister or Cabinet can take away that right.

It said the EC is duty-bound to facilitate the voting process for Covid-19 patients, and that this could be done through special arrangements which would allow them to vote from the hospital ward.

This would be in line with the EC’s guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 during elections, which state that patients are not allowed to leave the hospital to vote.

“Bersih 2.0 is of the view that if the EC fails to facilitate voting for Covid-19 positive patients in Sabah this coming Saturday, they would be liable to legal action for failing to fulfil their obligation to voters.

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“Further, any person or election officers who willfully prevents any person who is entitled to vote from voting, would have committed an offence under Section 4(d) or Section 9 of the Election Offences Act 1954.

“Bersih 2.0 stands ready to provide legal assistance to any Covid-19 positive patients who are prevented from exercising their right to vote this Saturday. They should contact us by email at info@bersih.org soon after Sept 26,” it said.

Bersih also expressed confidence in the ability of frontliners and health workers to ensure that the several hundred Covid-19 patients can safely cast their votes.

Yesterday, Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said those who have tested positive for Covid-19 and are being treated in hospitals will not be allowed to vote on Saturday.

He said normal voters, people with symptoms and those staying at quarantine centres may cast their ballots, but Covid-19 positive patients will not be allowed to do so.

-FMT

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