KUALA LUMPUR: The by-elections for Gerik parliamentary seat in Perak and Bugaya state seat in Sabah scheduled next month are likely to be put on hold.
The government has sought the consent of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to proclaim a state of emergency in both constituencies, a source said.
The source said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had written a letter asking for the King’s consent to declare a state of emergency for both places yesterday.
“Muhyiddin is seeking to defer the by-election until the Covid-19 pandemic is brought under control.
“The government is worried if the by-elections are held, it could trigger another round of Covid-19 wave throughout the country, ” the source told The Star.
Muhyiddin had stated that the Sabah election in September had triggered the third wave of Covid-19 infections in the country.
He had, in explaining the emergency declaration for Batu Sapi to postpone the parliamentary by-election there following the death of MP Datuk Liew Vui Keong of Parti Warisan Sabah on Oct 2, said although the Election Commission (EC) had set a tight standard operating procedure for elections, the compliance was very weak, making the epidemic hard to control.
Similarly, the source said, the government thought that it was not a good idea to carry out the two by-elections as the Covid-19 infections were still high currently.
The by-elections came about following the death of the respective incumbents.
Datuk Hasbullah Osman, the representative of the Gerik constituency, died on Nov 16, while Manis Muka Mohd Darah, the incumbent for the Bugaya state seat, passed away on Nov 17.
The EC has fixed nomination day for Jan 4 with early voting on Jan 12 and polling on Jan 16 for both the by-elections.