The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has declared a state of emergency in Batu Sapi, Sabah to prevent a by-election in the constituency.
A statement from Istana Negara said the by-election, following the death of its incumbent Liew Vui Keong early last month, would be postponed to prevent any new wave of Covid-19 infections.
This follows an audience granted by Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah to Muhyiddin Yassin this morning, where the prime minister presented the Cabinet’s recommendation on implementing an emergency in Batu Sapi.
“With this declaration, all proceedings geared towards the Batu Sapi by-election will be discontinued in order to stop and prevent a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections, and a new date will be fixed for the by-election,” said a statement issued by Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, the Comptroller of the Royal Household.
The statement said the Agong invoked his powers under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution in calling off the by-election, adding that he also consulted Chief Secretary to the Government Mohd Zuki Ali, Attorney-General Idrus Harun, Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah and Election Commission chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh.
Apart from Batu Sapi, the federal seat of Gerik in Perak and the state seat of Bugaya in Sabah have also been made vacant by the deaths of their incumbents.
The by-election in Batu Sapi had been fixed for Dec 5, with nomination day next week.
In its statement, Istana Negara said the Agong’s decision also took into account the spike in Covid-19 cases in the aftermath of the Sabah election in September.
It said with 3,170 voters in Batu Sapi residing outside the constituency including in Peninsula Malaysia, there were worries of outstation travel which could further complicate efforts to contain the pandemic.