Sabah govt to consider Batu Sapi precedent for Bugaya poll by declaring state of emergency

Julia Chan
·2-min read
An Election Commission personnel prepares the nomination centre at Semporna Multipurpose Hall in Semporna September 11, 2020. — Bernama pic
An Election Commission personnel prepares the nomination centre at Semporna Multipurpose Hall in Semporna September 11, 2020. — Bernama pic

KOTA KINABALU, Nov 30 — Sabah Covid-19 spokesman Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun today said that since cases in the state are still among the highest in the country, the right thing to do would be declaring a state of emergency in the Bugaya state constitution to avoid a by-election.

He said that while the Constitution provides that a by-election must be held within 60 days of the seat being vacated, the option of delaying the by-election to a later date could also be taken.

“We hope the Election Commission (EC) will look at the precedent set in Batu Sapi and consider that option. Of course, the prerogative to declare an emergency is only with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, from a recommendation by the government.

“I can't say but the Batu Sapi precedent is an option during these times when Covid 19 cases are still high,” he said.

Masidi said that the newly-minted Gabungan Rakyat Sabah government was still focusing on handling the pandemic and has not made plans for the by-election.

“At this time we aren’t thinking about the by-election. Our top proiority is handling this. Other things like politics can wait. We must ensure the health and safety of the population is taken care of, and stopping the pandemic from getting worse or at least get it to a manageable level.

“Politics can wait,” he said.

The parliamentary constituency of Batu Sapi is currently without its elected representative after Parti Warisan Sabah’s Datuk Liew Vui Keong passed away on October 2.

A by-election was set for November 23 to December 5 but was put on hold indefinitely when the Agong declared a state of emergency in the region to prevent another spike of fresh cases.

The Bugaya state seat was vacated on November 17 when its incumbent, Manis Muka Mohd Dara, also from Warisan, died from an illness.

The EC declared a by-election, along with the Gerik parliamentary seat on January 4 with polling date on January 12.

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