Batu Sapi by-election: Voters likely to be more cautious following Covid-19 spike after Sabah polls, says political analyst


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 14 Oct 2020

KOTA KINABALU: The public is likely to be more vigilant when it comes to voting during the Batu Sapi by-election after observing the spike of Covid-19 cases after the state election, says a political analyst.

Universiti Teknologi Mara (Uitm) Sabah lecturer Tony Paridi Bagang said this would affect the outcome of voters come polling day of the parliamentary seat, located at Sabah's east coast.

“This could refrain them going out to vote, ” he said when contacted on Wednesday (Oct 14).

The Election Commission (EC) has set Dec 5 for the polling day and Nov 23 as nomination day for the seat which is vacant following the death of its MP Datuk Liew Vui Keong.

Tony further added that given the current scenario, while it was constitutionally the right for any party to contest, many are expected to give high consideration before deciding to.

“They (political parties) might look especially at the people’s perception and sentiments on the ground, ” he added.

Previously, SAPP, Barisan Nasional, Parti Cinta Sabah and Sabah STAR have already announced separately that they would not be contesting in the by-election with Covid-19 concerns being one of the major reasons.

Meanwhile, UMS Senior Public Health Medicine Specialist and Head of Public Health Unit, Datuk Dr Mohd Yusof Ibrahim said while EC’s move to allow only online campaigning was a good measure, concerns still arise for polling day itself.

“Personally I would like to see it (by-election) postponed until our (Covid-19) cases are on decreasing trend, ” he said.

Dr Yusof, however, believed that if the Health Ministry’s efforts are supported by high community compliance, Sabah might be out of the woods by next month from the present critical condition due to the pandemic.

“If everyone plays their role and MOH continue their strict surveillance activities, cases should come down by nearly November, ” he said, adding the two elements were key in flattening the curve as ongoing movement restrictions are executed in Sabah.

Moving forward, the former Sabah health director stressed that the government must seriously tighten the borders here so no more undocumented migrants can enter the state.

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