On the Johor state election polling day (12 March), a dutiful voter was unfortunately fined RM1,000 after she went to cast her vote despite still being under Covid-19 quarantine.
According to Kosmo, the incident was reported to have happened at the Dewan Kampung Melayu polling centre in Larkin, where the woman showed up with her mother to vote, then returned home alone.
Speaking to the media, the woman is in her 30s said she was under the impression that she could vote in person despite testing positive for Covid-19 and still under home quarantine.
Johor Baru district health inspector Mohd Azrul said the woman’s MySejahtera health status was shown to be in red.
With this, she had to pay a RM1,000 fine and was told to report to the Johor Baru district health office within 14 days. She was also ordered to go home immediately after being issued the compound notice.
If someone commits an offence related to breaches of Covid-19 prevention rules, the authorities can choose to offer to let the offender compound the offence, in exchange for not being charged in court.
The offender can then avoid being charged in court where they may face heavier penalties such as fines or imprisonment if they pay the compound amount offered.
Meanwhile, it is possible that the woman’s mistake could be due to the previous announcement by the Health Ministry (KKM) that said of a directive on a method to facilitate voting by Covid-19 positive persons in the Johor state elections.
However, KKM later posted a Facebook post to inform the public to disregard the audio clip which had been spread online and said it had never issued instructions for the Johor elections as claimed.
Voter’s constitutional rights to cast their vote
After KKM issued the compound, there had been voices calling out to the ministry for allegedly denying the woman her constitutional right to vote.
The SOPs for the election bars them from leaving their places of treatment or quarantine to cast their vote for fear of spreading the disease.
According to FMT, a lawyer said the Federal Constitution does not deny Malaysians their right to vote based on their medical condition.
“How can you not allow Covid-19 positive patients to vote? That is their right under the Federal Constitution,” lawyer Suzana was quoted saying by the local news portal.
“Why can’t the government create secure online voting platforms, voting centres at Covid-19 wards, or go house-to-house to collect votes?” she added.