Political parties likely able to hold walkabouts ahead of GE

This article is more than 12 months old

With social gatherings of up to five people allowed in phase two of the economy's reopening, political parties will likely be able to conduct walkabouts in the run-up to the upcoming general election in small groups.

Asked about guidelines for walkabouts should the general election be held in phase two, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said: "In terms of activities, we've highlighted if you're out and about, then the rule of five would apply. So you can go out with your friends to exercise, to go on a walk, then up to five people, but not more than that, and all must wear masks."

The Elections Department (ELD) has not yet released campaigning guidelines, saying such rules are not ready as they have to take into account the existing rules on safe distancing and management closer to the actual date of the polls.

During the virtual press conference yesterday, the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19 was also asked about phase two of reopening and the election time frame, as well as how it could impact campaigning.

Responding, Mr Wong said guidelines related to elections are "put together separately by the Elections Department".

"So this can happen in phase two, it may happen in phase three, no one will know the exact timing at this stage, but should the election be called, the Elections Department will certainly explain what the precautions, safeguards and campaign guidelines entail. So that's not for this task force to answer," he added.

The Health Ministry's director of medical services Kenneth Mak noted that the ELD consults his ministry on matters concerning public health.

"Whenever an election is called, the prevailing public health requirements will have to be adhered to at that point in time," he said.

The ELD recently unveiled a set of safety measures for voters ahead of the general election. The number of polling stations will be increased from 880 to 1,100, for example, to reduce the number of voters going to each station from 3,000 to 2,400.

Voters will be also given recommended time slots and can check the queue situation at their polling station online before turning up. - THE STRAITS TIMES