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We don’t have a local outbreak. Not yet. But do we want to take the chance? -NSTP/MOHD FADLI HAMZAH
We don’t have a local outbreak. Not yet. But do we want to take the chance? -NSTP/MOHD FADLI HAMZAH

ARE we on course to a snap election? Oh dear. Please, please.. let it not be so.

Okay. Let's wake up from this political nightmare. Look around. Covid-19 is fanning out across the globe. We want an election now? We want to generously return the mandate to the rakyat?

Campaign workers will be everywhere, shaking hands with everyone. Countless people will attend this assembly and that.

Politicians will be running around, talking, singing, dancing with so many people close by.

Nomination Day will have crowds and convoys. Election day will have hundreds or thousands at voting centres.

In short, people will be near each other a lot. Not that it is not happening now. I myself am in close contact with many souls every day. But would not a general election tremendously increase the risk of community infection?

Elsewhere around the world, countries, especially those hard hit by Covid-19, are suspending events to slow down the spread.

We don’t have a local outbreak. Not yet. But do we want to take the chance?

The World Health Organisation (WHO), on its website, says you should “maintain at least 1 metre distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing”.

Its chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Monday: "We must focus on containment while doing everything we can to prepare for a potential pandemic. There is no one-

size-fits-all approach. Every country must make its own risk assessment for its own context."

And the head of WHO’s health emergencies programme, Mike Ryan, is quoted by the BBC as saying now is the time “to do everything you would do to prepare for a pandemic”.

In Iran, the authorities on Sunday blamed the dismal 42 per cent turnout in its parliamentary election on Covid-19 rumours and fears. Do we want that to happen in Malaysia?

I hope health experts will advise our leaders. An election is important. So are our lives. Can a compromise be reached, please? Let’s change course.

The writer is NST production editor


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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