Preparations for Sabah snap polls to continue, says EC chief

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

The commission also has no qualms about holding a state election during the Covid-19 pandemic as it intends to take all precautions

to ensure safety of the public health, he added.

Although it will be costly, Azmi is confident that the EC will be well prepared for the 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 when contacted.

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.

Azmi said that as the EC had conducted by-elections during the MCO, the experiences have proven that the EC can 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 a standard operating procedure which stresses on sanitising, the use of masks, social distancing and 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 will be given priority, ” said Azmi.

He, however, declined to say when the snap polls will 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 from the opposition led by Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

On Aug 3, 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 move to dissolve the state assembly on July 30.

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