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KOTA KINABALU, Oct 14 — Sabah Pakatan Harapan (PH) is the latest to announce it is opting out of the upcoming Batu Sapi parliamentary by-election, increasing chances for Parti Warisan Sabah to retain the seat if it decides to put up a candidate.
Its chapter chief Datuk Christina Liew said that the decision comes out of respect for the late Batu Sapi MP Datuk Liew Vui Keong, better known as VK Liew, and the desire to prevent another spike in Covid-19 cases.
“Our decision is a show of respect for the late Datuk VK Liew who last held the Batu Sapi parliamentary seat under Parti Warisan Sabah,” she said in a statement today.
Christina, who is also Sabah PKR chief, called on other parties or individuals to avoid participating or to ensure full observance of the standard operating procedure (SOP) should they intend to contest in the by-election.
“Taking into account the lessons learnt from the recent Sabah state election, there is a genuine need to tighten the existing SOP for conduct of elections,” she said.
The polling date for the Batu Sapi by-election has been set for December 5, with nomination day set for November 23.
Liew served as Batu Sapi MP from May 2018 until his death on October 2 this year, following lung complications.
Recently Barisan Nasional, Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS), Parti Solidarity Tanah Airku (STAR), and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) have announced that they would not contest the seat.
The youth wings of PAS and BN have both said that it would be appropriate to let Warisan retain the seat in light of the worsening pandemic which was putting many lives, and Sabah’s health care system on the brink.
However, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin last night said it has yet to make a decision on the matter.
Muhyiddin, who is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Perikatan Nasional chief, said that it has to consider the recently cobbled together Gabungan Rakyat Sabah coalition in its decision making.
However, two of its component parties — STAR and SAPP — have already indicated it would not keen, leaving Bersatu to consider the seat.
Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) is among those who have yet to indicate whether they would contest the seat.