Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) has yet to decide whether to contest the Batu Sapi by-election, a day after Barisan Nasional (BN) said it would withdraw from the race over concerns on the spike in Covid-19 cases.
Bersatu deputy president Ahmad Faizal Azumu said parties supporting Perikatan Nasional in the GRS coalition would need to meet to discuss the matter.
“We will have to wait and see, given the increase in Covid-19 cases,” he told MalaysiaNow.
GRS, comprising PN, BN and PBS, recently won the Sabah election, toppling the Warisan Plus coalition which had led the state since Pakatan Harapan’s victory in the 2018 polls.
The Batu Sapi seat fell vacant last Friday with the death of incumbent MP Liew Vui Keong.
PCS, led by former foreign minister Anifah Aman, has also withdrawn from the contest. Its secretary-general Ansari Abdullah said the decision was made after taking into consideration public safety, given the increase in positive cases in the state.
He said Sabah could not afford a further increase in cases if campaigning and voting commences for the by-election.
“We pray that Sabah and its people will be protected from the spread of Covid-19,” he said in a statement on Facebook.
“For us, the lives and safety of the people take precedence over all political considerations.
“Sabah is being flooded with new cases, and it is clear that the SOPs issued for the recent state election failed to curb the transmission of Covid-19.”
The Election Commission has already said that a by-election will be held for the Batu Sapi seat in line with Article 54, Clause (1) of the Federal Constitution.
However, BN chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said yesterday that the coalition would not contest the seat, in order to prevent further infections especially in Sabah.