After Covid-19 spike from last poll, Sabah minister urges non-native politicians to sit out Batu Sapi campaign

Sabah Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun speaks to reporter in Kota Kinabalu October 18, 2020. — Bernama pic
Sabah Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun speaks to reporter in Kota Kinabalu October 18, 2020. — Bernama pic

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KOTA KINABALU, Nov 11 — Politicians from outside of Sabah should heed the lesson of the state election in September and refrain from visiting the state for the Batu Sapi by-election, said Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

The Sabah government’s Covid-19 spokesman said local politicians could handle the campaigning, in the event the by-election is contested.

“Based on the last election, there is obviously a need for self discipline. In any case there’s a need for campaigning, Sabahans are good enough to do the campaigning on their own in whatever ways allowed by the EC (Election Commission),” he said.

Masidi, who is Sabah’s local government and housing minister, highlighted that the Sandakan district in the east of Sabah was among Covid-19 red zones here.

He said that if voting were necessary for the by-election, it would be burdensome to voters from outside the district due to the interstate and interdistrict travel restrictions put in place to curb Covid-19 infections.

He pointed out that at least 450 cases of Covid-19 discovered in the peninsula were traced back to Sabah during its state election.

“This is a good lesson for us to ponder and it would be foolish for us to repeat this mistake.

“I will leave it to proper authority to determine whether such restrictions should be enforced,” he said.

Nomination for the Batu Sapi by-election is on November 23, with polling on December 5 or one day before the conditional movement control order (CMCO) here would expire.

Political parties have either pledged not to contest the Batu Sapi by-election or urged their allies to follow suit in order for Parti Warisan Sabah to retain the seat uncontested, effectively avoiding both an election campaign and voting.

The by-election was called due to the death of the incumbent, former minister Datuk VK Liew.

Covid-19 cases in Sabah have become the highest in the country, hitting its peak at 1,199 on Friday but have since come down significantly to 259 cases today.

Out of 21,448 total Covid-19 cases detected in the state, there remained 2,935 that were active.

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