Sabah Parties Capable Of Campaigning On Their Own In Batu Sapi Says Masidi
Political party leaders from the peninsula may not be welcomed to campaign in the Batu Sapi by-election. (Bernama pic)KOTA KINABALU: Sabah local government and housing minister Masidi Manjun believes Sabah parties are capable of campaigning by themselves without the help of their peninsula counterparts for the Batu Sapi by-election next month.
Masidi, who is the state’s official Covid-19 spokesman, said they have learned from the state election two months ago, but he stopped short of saying the state would recommend a travel ban on political leaders from coming over.
He added that the state could not impose any travel ban on Batu Sapi constituents residing in the peninsula who wanted to return to vote as it was their constitutional right.
“However, this begs the question, whether there is a necessity for West Malaysians to come over during the campaigning period.
“If we learn from the recent state election, obviously there’s a need for self-discipline,” he said during his Covid-19 briefing here today.
He added that if there was a contest for the Batu Sapi seat and campaigning was necessary, then Sabahans are good enough to do it on their own “in whatever ways allowed by the Election Commission (EC).”
“This is taking into consideration that Sandakan (where Batu Sapi lies) is one of the few areas in Sabah that is still considered a red zone. I think everyone should bear that in mind.”
Masidi was responding to a question on how the conditional movement control order (CMCO), which has been extended to Dec 6 in Sabah, would affect the Batu-Sapi parliamentary by-election, to be held just the day before.
He reminded that over 450 Covid-19 cases in the peninsula were caused by people who had returned from the Sabah state election.
“I think that’s a good lesson for us to ponder. So having said that it would be foolish for us to repeat the same mistake twice.
“I will, however, leave (the decision) to the appropriate authority to determine whether such (travel) restrictions should be enforced, for a better reason, that is to stop the further spread of the virus.”
In the Sabah election, scores of political leaders including Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, former PM Najib Razak as well as those from Pakatan Harapan, such as DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, had travelled to the state during the campaign period.
Masidi also said the EC had yet to issue any specific SOPs pertaining to the Batu Sapi by-election but expected them to be “quite strict.”
“So we will wait until the EC announces the SOPs, assuming there will be a contest in the by-election,” he said.
Most of the main parties in Sabah such as Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Harapan, Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS), as well as Perikatan Nasional components STAR and SAPP and their ally PBS, have previously said they will sit out the by-election.
However, Sabah PPBM has not indicated whether it will contest the polls, of which the nominations will be held on Nov 23 and early voting on Dec 1.
Warisan, whose incumbent Batu Sapi MP Liew Vui Keong died due to illness on Oct 2 thus triggering the by-election, had recently said it will be announcing its candidate for the seat closer to nomination day. - FMT
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