As is typical for politicians and their backing parties alike, the Johor state elections have witnessed a number of campaigning events, with political hopefuls doing their utmost to shore up support from their constituents ahead of the polls. With that being said however, campaigning activities have come under intense scrutiny in the wake of the sharp increase of daily COVID-19 cases in the country.
Barisan Nasional campaign event for Johor polls criticised for large crowd, lack of social distancing
Among these include a recent campaign event that was held by the Barisan Nasional coalition, which was organised from within what appeared to be an event hall. Uploaded by a TikTok user before being shared by community Facebook group Inforoadblock, video footage from the event appears to show backers for the longstanding heavyweight political party standing in close proximity to one another as they cheered party members on stage.
While many did appear to have masks on, no proper physical distancing measures were observed as the crowd congregated in place, holding placards bearing slogans and messages in support of Barisan Nasional for the Johor state elections. Similarly, those who were on stage also appeared to be standing shoulder-to-shoulder alongside each other.
Netizens call out double standards
The video has since caught flak among local netizens, many of whom were quick to point out the lack of proper safety protocols and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) being enforced throughout the duration of the clip. Others have also called out the apparent double-standard witnessed in cases such as these which involved major political parties, claiming that the authorities would have swiftly penalised event organisers had it been held by commonfolk.
“A failed government. Where are the SOPs? If ordinary commonfolk organise an event like this, they would have been fined.”
“They are the ones who violate SOPs, and yet we commonfolk are the ones who won’t be able to celebrate our festivals. They have this all planned out. We’re the ones who are careless.”
“What are you waiting for, YB Khairy Jamaluddin!!! Just fine them! Oh I forgot, they’re wearing the ‘same shirt’.”
“You talk about SOP every day, YB Khairy Jamaluddin of BN. Yet those of your own tribe are always safe. #dontvote”
Similarly, embattled former-premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak had also called out rival political faction Perikatan Nasional for organising a pre-launch ceremony in Muar, Johor, and had demanded that the National Security Council provide an explanation as to whether face-to-face appearances and campaigning by politicians are now permitted.
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Also read: Govt’s Keluarga Malaysia event was slapped with… RM1,000 compound for breaking COVID SOPs