Perak and Sabah to hold two by-elections simultaneously in January

The by-elections were triggered following the deaths of Gerik MP Datuk Hasbullah Osman and Bugaya assemblyman Manis Muka Mohd Darah. PHOTO: AFP

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - By-elections will be held simultaneously in the Gerik parliamentary ward in Perak and Bugaya state seat in Sabah.

Election Commission (EC) chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh said on Friday (Nov 27) that nomination day for both by-elections would be on Jan 4, with early voting on Jan 12, polling on Jan 16.

He added that both by-elections would be guided by the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOP) that were applied at the Sabah 12th state election, with several improvements.

"All campaigning activities involving ceramahs (rallies), talks, house to house visits, walkabouts and pamphlet giveaways that are done face to face are not permitted.

"Candidates are encouraged to campaign using social media and they will be allowed to put up banners at election areas.

"Campaigning using vehicles that are equipped with loudspeakers will be allowed, but at reasonable hours. However, the activity cannot cause a gathering of supporters, " said Datuk Ghani in a statement.

He also said that the EC expects a 70 per cent voter turnout for both by-elections.

The by-elections were triggered following the deaths of Gerik MP Datuk Hasbullah Osman on Nov 16 and Bugaya assemblyman Manis Muka Mohd Darah on Nov 17.

EC estimates the Gerik by-election would cost RM5.8 million (S$1.9 million) while the Bugaya by-election would cost RM4.7 million.

However, questions remain on whether the two by-elections will be held, following the King's declaration of an emergency to postpone the Batu Sapi by-election that was scheduled for Dec 5.

The decision was made in light of the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.