EC conforms with Gerik, Bugaya emergency declaration, by-elections on hold

Election Commission chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya October 13, 2020. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
Election Commission chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya October 13, 2020. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

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PUTRAJAYA, Dec 16 — The Election Commission (EC) conforms with the declaration of Emergency Proclamation for the Gerik parliamentary constituency, Perak and the Bugaya state constituency in Sabah, in effect cancelling the by-elections for both seats, said its chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh.

The Declaration of Emergency Proclamation based on Clause (1) of Article 150 of the Federal Constitution allows an ordinance to be proclaimed under Clause (2B) of Article 150 to revoke the date set for the by-elections for Gerik parliamentary seat and Bugaya state seat, after it received consent from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al -Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, he said.

“Following this declaration, any proceedings that have begun for the purpose of holding the by-election for P.054 Gerik, Perak and N.66 Bugaya, Sabah, will not be continued and another date will be set for the by-elections,” said Abdul Ghani in a statement today.

The EC had previously set the two by-elections to be held simultaneously on January 16 following the deaths of the incumbents of the two constituencies. The nomination date of the candidate is set on January 4 while January 12 as the early voting date.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in a statement today, said that His Majesty had consented to declare a state of emergency for the two by-elections after studying the explanation presented by him that there is a need to declare a Proclamation of Emergency based on Clause (1) Article 150 of the Federal Constitution.

Muhyiddin said that the Cabinet on December 4 had discussed in detail the impact of the Gerik and Bugaya by-elections, if held at the time the Covid-19 pandemic was still spreading in the country.

The Gerik by-election is necessitated following the death of Datuk Hasbullah Osman on November 16 due to heart disease, while the Bugaya by-election follows the death of Manis Muka Mohd Darah on November 17 due to complications of kidney disease.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong on November 18 declared a Proclamation of Emergency for P.185 Batu Sapi, Sabah, thus canceling the by-election as a proactive measure to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Batu Sapi by-election was necessitated following the death of incumbent Datuk Liew Vui Keong on October 2 due to a lung infection, and the EC had previously set the nomination day for the Batu Sapi by-election on November 23, polling day on December 5 and early voting on December 1.

In Perak, new Menteri Besar Datuk Saarani Mohamad said that the declaration of Emergency Proclamation for the Gerik parliamentary seat by-election will definitely help curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic even though the area is located in the Pengkalan Hulu district which is a green zone.

Saarani, who is also the Kota Tampan assemblyman (ADUN) said that if the Gerik by-election is held, it will cause the influx of people from outside the district and the situation could increase risk.

“Gerik area is a green zone but we need to take into account what happened in Sabah when there was free movement during the election.

“If there is no contest, then it will be okay, but if there is a contest then it will involve movement,” he said when met by reporters after presenting the Perak Budget 2021 at the Perak Darul Ridzuan Building here today.

Meanwhile, Perak DAP chairman Nga Kor Ming said the state Pakatan Harapan welcomed the Emergency Proclamation, without commenting further. — Bernama

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