The government is considering declaring an emergency in order to postpone the by-elections in Gerik and Bugaya, similar to the move taken earlier this month to defer the Batu Sapi polls in Sabah.
Law minister Takiyuddin Hassan said the health ministry and National Security Council (NSC) are conducting a detailed study to determine the need to put off the Gerik and Bugaya polls in Perak and Sabah respectively.
He added that the government is keen on postponing any election to prove its commitment to preventing further escalation of the Covid-19 crisis.
“That is why, in line with Article 150 (of the Federal Constitution), the Cabinet decided to instruct the prime minister to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to declare a state of emergency in Batu Sapi,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat today.
“The same will be considered and implemented for the state constituency of Bugaya and the parliamentary constituency of Gerik if, according to the risk assessment by the health ministry and NSC, this is needed.”
He also said there was a strong possibility that the SOPs set by the NSC would not be fully obeyed in Batu Sapi.
Ahmad Maslan (BN-Pontian) had asked if the government intended to advise the Agong to declare a state of emergency in Bugaya and Gerik as was done in Batu Sapi.
Takiyuddin also said the government would need to postpone the by-elections as many personnel from the Election Commission (EC) and health ministry were afraid to work due to the rising wave of Covid-19 infections.
“Only 143 EC staff so far are willing to work when the number should be 837,” he said.
“On these grounds, the government believes declaring an emergency would be the best move.”
He added that any move by the Agong to this effect would be in line with the constitution, denying that it would be at odds with democratic practices.