KUALA LUMPUR: The Special Committee on Election System and Law Improvement (ERC) has called for a comprehensive review of existing laws to enable elections, whether by-election or general, to be postponed during a crisis which endangers national security.
ERC chairman Tan Sri Ab Rashid Ab Rahman (pix) said for that purpose, a specific provision could be included in the Federal Constitution and the Elections Act 1958 to empower the Election Commission (EC) to take action in such a situation.
“The ERC is of the view that the basic features of democratic elections cannot be neglected and that proper methods in accordance with existing laws should not be set aside merely to hold an election,” he said in a statement, today.
At the same time, the ERC fully supports Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah’s decision to declare an emergency in Batu Sapi, hence deferring the by-election in the Parliamentary constituency.
“It is a right decision in line with the current situation, thus helping to curb and prevent the occurrence of the fourth wave of Covid-19 infection in Sabah as well as across the country.
“… we also need to give the same priority to the welfare of the people and electorate and take all necessary actions so as not to aggravate the health crisis and avoid losing more lives due to the pandemic,” he said.
He said the ERC was confident that a fair by-election would take place once the pandemic was over.
“Taking into account the five basics associated with the decision to cancel and postpone the Batu Sapi by-election, the ERC is confident that the time and space available will enable the EC to streamline all mechanisms and standard operating procedures (SOP) to ensure that the by-elections during disasters including in Gerik, Perak and Bugaya, Sabah can later be managed effectively,” he said.
Meanwhile, Alliance for Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said Malaysians must avoid a situation where the King has to consider imposing localised emergencies in other parts of the country if SOP compliance is found wanting.
“The close watch that the authorities are keeping over the pandemic is proof, if proof is needed, of how the authorities are placing the health and welfare of the people beyond all other considerations.
“The rakyat must reciprocate by following all SOPs, rules and regulations without exception. It is a matter of concern that there are still cases of people showing scant regard for the precautionary measures put in place to check Covid-19,” he said. — Bernama