KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 27 — The government has no power nor authority to postpone or call off the Batu Sapi by-election, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today.
He said the rules under the Federal Constitution are clear, adding that the Election Commission (EC) has also said that a by-election will be held for the parliamentary seat following the October 2 death of its MP Datuk VK Liew from pneumonia.
“Under the Constitution, it is clear that when there is an empty seat or dissolution of the House, a by-election must be held within 60 days of the vacancy.
“So it is not the government that can decide if the by-election can continue or not. It is under the jurisdiction of the EC,” Ismail said during his daily press briefing.
He said the National Security Council, Health Ministry and EC are preparing special SOPs for the coming by-election.
Voting in Malaysia is a constitutional right, but is not mandatory.
Ismail said it would be hard to predict the voter turnout this time, acknowledging growing anxiety after the Sabah election.
“They are afraid to come out to vote,” he said, adding that even EC staff have expressed their fears.
“As such we will call the EC, maybe tomorrow or the day after, to make stricter SOPs for these by-elections,” Ismail said.
The EC has set polling day on December 5, early polling on December 1, with official campaigning set to last 12 days starting from nomination on November 23.
Concern over elections held held during the Covid-19 pandemic have grown since the “third wave”, which Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah conceded was caused by widespread failure to observe fundamental health regulations during the Sabah state election in September.
Sabah continues to hold the record for most number of daily Covid-19 infections. The largely rural north Borneo state chalked up 927 cases yesterday, accounting for 74.8 per cent of nationwide cases that set a new daily record at 1,240.
Putrajaya has since extended the conditional movement control order in the state, as well as in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Selangor that started October 14 and will now run till November 9.