Pakatan MPs denounce Umno’s call for snap elections

Pakatan Harapan supporters at the SMK Sultan Ahmad Shah nomination centre in Cameron Highlands, January 12, 2019. ― Picture by Farhan Najib
Pakatan Harapan supporters at the SMK Sultan Ahmad Shah nomination centre in Cameron Highlands, January 12, 2019. ― Picture by Farhan Najib

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 — A group of MPs and former Pakatan Harapan ministers have condemned the calls by Umno leaders for snap elections as irresponsible and appalling.

They said now is not the time to be holding snap elections, as the country has recorded a total number of 1,741 new Covid-19 positive cases yesterday bringing the total number of infections to 120,818 cases.

“Some states are hit by severe floods and more than 15,000 Malaysians have been displaced. Current unemployment or reduced income for many families in this time of pandemic remains unsettling,” said the MPs in a statement.

Noting that Umno’s calls for an election came less than a month after the country’s biggest Budget ever was passed to fight Covid-19, the group said Umno has have bared their true colours for all to see by using fresh elections as a trump card to grab more power at the expense of Malaysians’ wellbeing and health safety.

“We are reminded of the fact that (former prime minister Datuk Seri) Najib Razak once urged Umno members to defend Putrajaya at all costs, by saying that even if their bodies are crushed and their lives lost, whatever happens, they must defend Putrajaya.

“Malaysians must reject such wicked and selfish ambition for power. We have lost enough from years of misgovernance and corruption. This nation needs to heal and the time to heal is now,” said the MPs.

The group includes Penampang MP and ex-international trade and industry minister Datuk Darell Leiking, Muar MP and ex-youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, Sepanggar MP and ex-deputy home minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman, Segambut MP and ex-women, family and community development deputy minister Hannah Yeoh, Bakri MP and ex-energy, science, technology, environment and climate change minister Yeo Bee Yin, Selangau MP and former works minister Baru Bian, as well as Sungai Buloh MP and ex-rural and regional development deputy minister Sivarasa Rasiah.

It also includes Pulai MP and ex-agriculture and agro-based industry minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub, Kubang Pasu MP and ex-finance deputy minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah, Kulai MP and ex-deputy education minister Teo Nie Ching, Kota Belud MP and ex-energy, science, technology, environment and climate change deputy minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis, Dewan Negara Senator and ex-foreign affairs deputy minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya, Pokok Sena MP and ex-human resources minister Datuk Mahfuz Omar, as well as Shah Alam MP and ex-federal territories minister Khalid Abdul Samad.

On Sunday, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the party wishes for a snap election to be held in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, and questioned why Malaysia is the only country afraid of holding a general election during a pandemic when over 30 nations elsewhere have done so.

Speaking at Bagan Datoh Umno’s annual general meeting in Perak, he also said Umno will contest in all of its traditional parliamentary and state seats that the party won in the last general election held on May 9, 2018.

Pontian Umno chief and Johor Mentri Besar also supported calls for a snap general election, citing Singapore, New Zealand and the United States as examples where elections were held despite having to deal with Covid-19.

He claimed that holding elections would create a majority government and bring political stability to Malaysia, adding that he has faced difficulties in administering the state due to the slim majority of the present Johor state government.

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