Snap polls would cost govt RM1.2bil due to Covid-19 precautions, says Takiyuddin

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 12 Aug 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: It would cost the government about RM1.2bil if a nationwide snap election is called, says Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan.

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department said this is because there are measures that need to be in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the 14th General Election, held during pre-Covid 19 times, cost about RM500mil.

"I was made to understand by the Election Commission (EC) that if the government is to have a nationwide snap election now, during Covid-19, it would cost about RM1.2bil as all standard operating procedures (SOPs) need to be followed. That is the estimated amount," said Takiyuddin in his response during the committee stage of the Supplementary Supply (2019) Bill 2020 on Wednesday (Aug 12).

He said that the five recent by-elections had also cost about RM12.95mil in total.

Takiyuddin said the Cameron Highlands by-election cost about RM3.5mil while the Semenyih by-election cost RM1.8mil.

The other by-elections including Rantau, Sandakan and Tanjung Piai cost RM1.83mil, RM3.32mil and RM2.68mil, respectively.

Takiyuddin also said RM400,000 was allocated to fund election petitions.

In the previous Pakatan Harapan administration, Takiyuddin said it was decided that the EC could not engage the services of the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) for election petition claims.

He said the EC had to appoint lawyers from the private sector to represent them for any election petition.

There were four election petitions - Jasin, Sipitang, Rantau an Kimanis - that cost the government RM400,000 as the EC had to engage the services of lawyers from the private sector, he said.

"Before this, the (Barisan Nasional) administration had decided that the AGC would represent the EC in all election petition cases.

"The then (Barisan) and current (Perikatan Nasional) government feel that the AGC has the expertise that cannot be doubted (tidak boleh dipertikaikan) compared to lawyers from the private sector who only deal with election petitions occasionally.

"As such, the current government will think of a new policy on representation for the EC should there be election petitions," he said.

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