Umno grassroots don’t want snap poll now, Khairy says amid push by party leaders

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin speaks during the launch of the Malaysia Grand Challenge in Putrajaya January 8, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin speaks during the launch of the Malaysia Grand Challenge in Putrajaya January 8, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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PUTRAJAYA, Jan 8 ― Umno MP Khairy Jamaluddin again stressed that a general election alongside the Covid-19 pandemic is not a viable choice as evidenced by the Sabah state election last year.

Khairy, who is also Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) minister, said it is clear that Malaysians, especially politicians, were not able to comply with the standard operating procedures (SOP).

He also dismissed comparisons made with other countries such as Singapore and New Zealand ― both which held their general elections during the pandemic ― as theirs were on a smaller scale compared to Malaysia.

“This is the will of the people and not just the Umno grassroots in rejecting snap polls.

“As a minister in Mosti, I have seen the data and infections and I am fully aware that if we call for snap elections, we will be putting a huge risk on our public health.

“Yet there are certain quarters involving politicians who are still pushing for one and I think such a stance is irresponsible,” he said in a press conference here.

Khairy was earlier asked to comment on a remark made by his party colleague Tan Sri Annuar Musa in slamming those in Umno for calling for a snap election amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

He also sarcastically remarked that those pushing for snap election were also seen flouting the SOP as well, equating their thinking quality as something oversimplified without any significant value like ‘pisang goreng’ or fried banana fritters.

“Those calling for snap elections, I have seen them on Facebook posts not wearing masks (in public) and going around greeting people, so yes, I think this is ‘pisang goreng’ kind of thinking,” he said.

Malaysia is being engulfed by a third wave of Covid-19 infections that has sent the country’s cumulative cases from 10,000 to over 120,000 in a span of three months, and broke another record as new cases breached the 3,000-mark yesterday.

The third wave was coincidentally linked to a premature Sabah state election last September that was triggered following a takeover attempt by Umno’s former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman.

While Pakatan Harapan was ousted as the federal government in February last year, the younger and smaller Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia emerged the pre-eminent political force in the federal administration, relegating Umno to a supporting role that has chafed its leaders and members.

After a lull at the end of last year, Umno has again begun pushing for an early general election in the belief that the party could regain control of the federal government, which it lost in the 2018 general election.

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