Pakatan won't field candidate in Chini by-election, cites Covid-19 threat as main reason

PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail explained that among the reasons that drove Pakatan Harapan to abandon the by-election is their worry for voters’ safety and wellbeing despite new SOPs set to be introduced. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail explained that among the reasons that drove Pakatan Harapan to abandon the by-election is their worry for voters’ safety and wellbeing despite new SOPs set to be introduced. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 — Pakatan Harapan today announced that it will not be contesting in the upcoming Chini by-election in Pahang, citing the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as their main deterrent.

A statement announcing their decision this morning by PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail explained that among the reasons that drove them to abandon the by-election is their worry for voters’ safety and wellbeing despite new SOPs set to be introduced.

He pointed out how the threat of Covid-19 here is far from over, and that despite the commendable efforts of the medical front liners in managing the spread of the virus and the upcoming regulations, everyone is still concerned for their safety during the pandemic.

Saifuddin said PKR was of the view that the SOPs to be released by the Election Commission (EC) would undoubtedly affect and alter the way campaigning and other election duties are conducted.

“For example, prohibition of more than 20 people from congregating at a ceramah needs to be looked into.

“And we have not been informed of the procedures of door-to-door campaigning, on setting up our tents, and other matters of great importance which are commonalities in the context of mobilising and preparing for an election.

“Hence, after taking such matters into consideration, PKR and the Pakatan Harapan presidential council have agreed that PKR will not be nominating a candidate for the upcoming Chini state assembly by-elections,” he said.

The by-election was triggered after the incumbent, Datuk Seri Abu Bakar Harun, died of a heart attack at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital on May 6.

The Chini state by-election will be the first to be held when the country is facing the Covid-19 pandemic. The EC has set the nomination on June 20, with early voting on June 30 and polling on July 4.

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