KUALA LUMPUR: The Election Commission (EC) will have more polling centres and polling streams to encourage the people to come out and vote if the 15th General Election (GE15) is held in the new normal atmosphere due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Shabudin Yahaya said this will be done to allay fears among voters as the pandemic is seen will be around for a while.

“The EC has plans in place to encourage voters to vote.

“The increase in polling centres and polling streams will speed up the voting process besides providing assurance to voters that it will be safe to come out and vote,” he told the Dewan Negara today.

He was replying to a supplementary question from Senator Idris Ahmad on government efforts to increase confidence among voters if the pandemic has not ended when GE15 is called.

Earlier, to the original question from Idris on EC’s preparedness to conduct the election in the new normal, Shabudin stressed that standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the GE to prevent spread of Covid-19 had already been issued by the Health Ministry and National Security Council.

“The guidelines to prevent spread of Covid-19 will be adapted to the prevailing Movement Control Order under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) and were utilised during the Chini and Slim by-elections as well as the Sabah state election,” said Shabudin. — Bernama