COVID-19. Make no mistake, it’s still here amongst us. With the R0 value dropping with every passing week, and universal vaccine coverage inching closer, many features of ‘normal’ life has started to resume. But that does not mean it has been eradicated.
Despite daily new cases now only hovering around the 5,000 mark, the powers that be decided that the time is ripe to go back to the polls. The testing ground for this exercise? None other than the historical state of Melaka.
Citing allegations of embezzlement and mismanagement of the state’s resources, former Melaka Chief Minister Idris Haron – along with three other state assemblymen – withdrew their support for the Sulaiman Md Ali administration on 4 October this year.
In response, the State Legislative Assembly was dissolved (amid protestations), triggering an election, and they each were sacked from their respective parties.
With the fate of Melaka’s political future hanging in the balance, and all 28 seats up for grabs, it seems that all political parties are pulling out all the stops. Throngs of blacked-out window SUVs have descended upon the state’s hotspots to canvass for their side, to admittedly mixed receptions from locals.
However, for one instance, the embrace is overwhelmingly effusive.
@najib_razak_fans Dato Sri Najib Razak hadir merasmikan penutup program Wanita Umno di Melaka#TeamNajibRazak ♬ original sound – DSN fans
Former Prime Minister Najib Razak was in Melaka recently to officiate an UMNO Women’s gathering, and he was given the rockstar treatment. His many criminal allegations aside, by the scale of the event, it would not take a public health expert to see the problem.
In the video uploaded by what can only be assumed as his official fan-club, Najib was greeted in an enclosed hall, packed by red headscarf-clad party diehards. Many lowered their mask to admire him up close, while others went without one completely.
He had not even made it to the front before the song ‘Gemuruh’ by Faizal Tahir started playing, sparking a mass karaoke session complete with crowd hand movements and members in tears. Do you think Faizal gets this kind of reception at his concerts?
The video naturally made its way onto other social media platforms, with one repost in particular catching the eye of the Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
In response, he announced that all election-related gatherings are banned until 27 November, a full week after the Melaka state elections.
SPR akan umumkan SOP PRN dalam masa terdekat. Namun SOP PRN hanya terpakai waktu kempen bermula. KKM risau sebelum itu ada banyak majlis politik yang tidak mematuhi SOP. Oleh itu, dibawah Akta 342, bermula esok, sebarang majlis berkaitan pilihan raya adalah tidak dibenarkan. https://t.co/xRZgQX4cnD pic.twitter.com/XF2YAS5Pjn
— Khairy Jamaluddin 🇲🇾🌺 (@Khairykj) October 24, 2021
It was later clarified that social and sports-related gatherings are still allowed, with the state in Phase 4 of the National Recovery Plan.