PETALING JAYA: The by-elections for Kajang and Balingian can be held simultaneously on March 23 if the Election Commission (EC) is notified of the vacancy in the Sarawak state seat soon, its chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said.
He said the commission has no problem in conducting multiple by-elections and had done so in the past.
However, the EC could not make full preparations to hold polls in Balingian without being notified, he said.
A by-election for the Balingian state seat is imminent following Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s resignation as Sarawak Chief Minister effective Feb 28.
He is set to take over as the Yang di-Pertua Negri, which means he has to give up his assemblyman’s post in order to become the new head of state.
As for the Kajang state seat in Selangor, it became vacant following the resignation of PKR’s representative Lee Chin Cheh on Jan 27. Nomination day is fixed for March 11 while voting takes place on March 23.
The EC had conducted simultaneous by-elections previously. Three by-elections were held concurrently on April 7, 2009 – Bukit Selambau state seat in Kedah, Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat in Perak and Batang Ai state seat in Sarawak.
On Nov 4, 2010, polls were held following vacancies in the Galas state seat in Kelantan and the Batu Sapi parliamentary seat in Sabah.
Aziz said simultaneous elections for Kajang and Balingian could be done.
“But for now, as far as I know, there is no mention of when he (Taib) is relinquishing his post as Balingian assemblyman, so I guess we will have to wait for the announcement,” Aziz added.
Nevertheless, he said the EC’s office in Kuching had been directed to make “administrative preparation”, including updating the electoral roll and list down requirements for the by-election.
Aziz said unlike the Kajang polls, the commission would not require too much time to prepare for an election in Balingian as “we see it coming”.
“Although we have not been officially informed, we know a by-election will have to be held following the political development in Sarawak.
“This is unlike Kajang which really caught us by surprise.
“Our offices nationwide have been monitoring elected representatives and we are not aware of any Yang Berhormat who is ill or those who are in a situation that requires them to step down,” he said.
Meanwhile, former Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib will be helping Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in the Kajang by-election.
“I am a PAS member and PAS has already made the decision to support PKR as the Pakatan candidate in Kajang.
“It is my duty to go down there (to help),” he told The Star yesterday.