Muhyiddin Yassin today hinted at difficulties in controlling the spread of Covid-19 if the Sarawak State Election and the Batu Sapi Parliamentary By-Election is held.
The prime minister said the Election Commission (EC) also admitted that no other party could help his party to go down to the field to do outside work because each of them was afraid of the epidemic.
“Even now when they want to hold the Batu Sapi by-election, the EC says no one is willing to help the EC outside, why? Because he is afraid of Covid-19.
“Soon there will be a Batu Sapi by-election. Soon there will be a Sarawak State Election, I am not sure how we want to control it,” he said.
Muhyiddin said he had discussed with EC chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh to hold restrictions so that there would be no election campaign.
“(Suggestions may) campaign virtually using telephones (mobile), use radio, television… it may help reduce (epidemics),” he said.
It would certainly cause hundreds of thousands of Sarawakians working in the peninsula to return to their state. Thus implying difficulties in controlling the spread based on the situation.
“Elections like Sarawak are coming, there will be hundreds of thousands of Sarawakians working in the Peninsula. They will return to Sarawak, whether from Selangor, from Johor Bahru, Taiping, Penang.
“Some of them come from the red area, where there is a Covid-19 epidemic. But because they want to vote, they will return to the village, back to Sarawak. Who here, can guarantee that this Covid-19 epidemic can be controlled?
“If the Sarawak State Election, the whole big state, I do not know how many thousands of manpower is needed, I do not know whether they (election officials) will come out to help the EC manage the election, that is why such a situation is quite alarming,” he said.
The government will discuss with the Election Commission (EC) on stricter standard operating procedures (SOP) for the Batu Sapi Parliamentary By-Election (PRK) which will be held on Dec 5.
Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the SOP should be tabled to ensure the health of Batu Sapi residents who will go out to vote.
“We will call the EC tomorrow or the day after tomorrow and will present a stricter SOP to ensure the health of the people of Batu Sapi to go out and vote.
“We cannot stop anyone from going out to vote because the Federal Constitution gives every citizen the right to vote.
“So the EC will issue an SOP so that it can reduce the movement and contact between individuals during the by-election, “he said.
Ismail Sabri also said that the government did not have the power to prevent an election from being held, including the Batu Sapi by-election as it was under the authority of the EC.
“Once again I want to clarify, it (the election) is not under the authority of the government to determine (because it is) under the Constitution (Article 150 of the Federal Constitution) and the power of the EC,” said Ismail Sabri.
The Batu Sapi Parliamentary seat is vacant following the death of its incumbent Datuk Liew Vui Keong from the Sabah Heritage Party on Oct 2.
The EC set Nov 23 as the nomination day for the by-election and early voting on Dec 1.
Batu Sapi has a total of 32,962 voters including 672 military personnel and 1,138 police personnel.
31st October 2020 15:47
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