Sunday, March 7, 2021

Snap polls, the last thing we need now

Whether an election is held now or not should not be a political decision, but one made based on health risk assessments.

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I am no political analyst, just an ordinary Malaysian who goes through the rigour of putting bread on the table. But I am flabbergasted that Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi over the weekend called for a general election to be held soon.

In media reports, he said this reflected the sentiments of the grassroots who were against the party’s pact with Bersatu, and therefore snap polls ought to be called soon.

Is this man, who faces multiple corruption charges and the prospect of years behind bars, out of his mind? Why do we need a general election when daily new Covid-19 cases are still in the four-digit range? Of late, it has been breaching the 2,000 mark quite often.

Have we not learnt from the Sabah election? Due to our lackadaisical attitude, there was an explosion of Covid-19 cases following the state polls, and this was not confined to the state. Sabah-linked cases spread throughout the country and led to the third wave of Covid-19 cases.

Why would any sane person want to risk lives and limbs for his own selfish political means? Whether we should hold an election now or not is not a political decision. It should be one based on health risk assessments. And our beloved health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has given an unequivocal NO to this question.

Zahid cited examples of countries that have held their elections during the pandemic, including the US and Singapore. Does he not know that the contexts and social settings in those countries were different?

In the US, many localities conducted postal voting, a facility not yet in place in Malaysia for the masses. And cases in the US have shot through the roof, crippling the healthcare system of many states, with the Covid-19 bodycount spiking.

Singapore is a tiny nation-state, its people used to a regimented lifestyle. With a much smaller population, it would be easier to enforce SOPs.

Malaysians, as we know, are known for being laidback. On the one hand, we complain about the worrying number of new daily cases, but on the other hand, the same people think nothing of gathering in crowds in malls and parks because “Covid-19 will only affect others, not me”.

Most legislatures in Malaysia, including the Dewan Rakyat, which held elections in May 2018, are only halfway through their respective terms. Why Zahid finds it necessary to dissolve the legislatures with the Covid-19 pandemic raging is beyond me.

While I am not very familiar with politics, if elections were held now, on account of Zahid wanting early polls, I’d make sure I vote against his party or the pact his party is in. Maybe that would knock some sense into this man.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.

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