PH disagrees with EC’s call for Melaka by-election

By ASILA JALIL / Pic by TMR FILE PIX

The Pakatan Harapan (PH) presidential council has disagreed with the Election Commission’s (EC) announcement that the Melaka by-election will be held on Nov 20, 2021.

The council said it is not the right time for a state election as the Covid-19 situation had only shown early signs of improving while the by-election would raise concerns on the occurrence of a fourth wave in the country.

“We are also concerned that the standard operating procedures (SOPs) during the campaigning period may be biased towards some parties if the by-election takes place.

“However, PH will proceed with the preparation including the possibility of facing the Melaka by-election,” it said in a statement today.

The statement was signed by PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu, DAP president Lim Guan Eng and Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau of United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation.

The council also expressed its disappointment towards EC chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh’s statement that only fully vaccinated individuals were allowed to go vote.

It said there is a probability for the ruling to breach Article 119 of the Federal Constitution concerning voter eligibility.

“Although PH fully supports the effort to provide vaccines for all, it should not be an excuse to discriminate against those who have yet to complete their two doses, and this move that stops them from voting may be illegal.

“We urge the EC to review this matter to ensure those who are eligible to vote based on the Federal Constitution can do so if the by-election proceeds,” they said.

They added that the bloc will file a court injunction regarding the dissolution of the Melaka state assembly.

A certificate of urgency has been filed to expedite the matter since the notice on the state assembly’s dissolution was only issued this morning.

“We are of the view that the dissolution was done based on the wrong advice,” they said.

Melaka Governor Tun Mohd Ali Rustam should have followed the stages stated in the constitution which calls for the King to meet the political bloc that is believed to have the majority if such a situation happens, they said, adding that Datuk Seri Sulaiman Ali should not be the state’s caretaker chief minister since he had lost the majority.

The EC has set Nov 20, 2021 as the polling date for Melaka’s 15th by-election. Nomination day for the by-election will be on Nov 8 while early voting will be conducted on Nov 16, 2021.

Abdul Ghani said the campaigning period will run for 12 days and will commence after the nominees have been named, until 11.59pm on Nov 19, 2021.