EC to go ahead with Sabah snap poll preparations

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 04 Aug 2020

PETALING JAYA: The Election Commission will continue with its preparations for the Sabah snap polls despite an application for a judicial review calling for a halt of the elections, says EC chief Dr Azmi Sharom (pic).

He said on Tuesday (Aug 4) that the EC had no qualms about holding a state election amidst the Covid-19 pandemic as it would be taking all precautions to ensure safety of voters.

Although it would be costly, Azmi said he was confident the EC would be well prepared for Sabah snap polls, the date of which has yet to be announced.

"The EC must be prepared. The law is unequivocal. Once a legislative assembly is dissolved, an election must be held within 60 days, no exceptions.

"We will continue with the preparations even though the judicial review is pending.

"We don't know what the court decision will be, so we must be prepared," said Azmi.

On Aug 3, an application for a judicial review of the EC's decision to call the elections was filed at the High Court in Kota Kinabalu.

A lawyer and two businesswomen filed for a judicial review to stop the Sabah state elections in view of the current Covid-19 threat.

Local lawyer Marcel Jude, Margret Binsing from Tambunan and Tessa Romana from Penampang sought a High Court order to quash Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin's decision to dissolve the state assembly on July 30.

In their court papers, the trio also sought a declaration that holding the Sabah state election during the term of the recovery MCO is unlawful, null and void.

Azmi said that as EC had conducted by-elections during the movement control order (MCO), and the experience proved that the EC could handle a state election during the MCO period.

"Certainly it will be more expensive, but we do not have the figures at the moment.

"We have standard operating procedure (SOP) which stresses sanitising, the use of masks, social distancing and (the presence of) health officers on site.

"Thankfully, we were satisfied with our experience in Chini (by-election). So, hopefully the SOP will be successfully carried out in Sabah and public health is assured," said Azmi.

He, however, declined to say when the snap poll would be held.

"It is still early days, so I won't comment at the moment," said Azmi.

On July 30, former Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal called for a dissolution of the state assembly after facing a coup attempt led by Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

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