Focus on the economy first

The cost of holding a GE would certainly be higher if it is held soon

by TMR / pic source: Media Mulia

THE government needs to focus on efforts to improve the economy and other crucial sectors instead of worrying about holding an early general election (GE), analysts say.

Political analyst Dr Mazlan Ali of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s Razak Faculty said the focus should also be given to the needs of the rakyat who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said if the next 15th General Election (GE15) is held in the near future, it will provide a negative perception towards the government which will be seen to prioritise politics over other urgent matters.

“Covid-19 is still with us. If the GE15 is held during the present conditions, even with strict standard operating procedures (SOPs), we cannot guarantee that the cases would not rise again.

“Additionally, the economy is just recovering and the rakyat is still finding difficulties to get back on their feet after two years of hardship,” he said.

Universiti Utara Malaysia senior lecturer of Politics and International Relations Professor Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani said the cost of holding a GE would certainly be higher if it is held soon.

He said the money could instead be used for other, more important spending including for education, social and economy to mitigate Covid-19.

“There is too much risk involved if GE15 is held. We have to remember that it will be entirely different from holding the Melaka state elections that only involved one state. A GE with tight SOPs will definitely cost more to hold.

“Also, if the cases rise immediately after GE15, that will also cost more. We have to learn from the Sabah state election where cases increased and many sectors had to be closed after that election was held,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to a poll taken by Astro Awani, 75.5% of respondents did not agree to an early GE15.

The poll that began on Nov 22 collected 3,480 respondents. However, the rest of the 24.5% respondents said they agreed to an early GE.

Federal Territory Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said he did not agree to have an early GE15 to give time for amendments that allow 18-year-olds to vote to be made.

He said allowing 18-year-olds to vote would increase the voter pool and they should be allowed to participate in the next GE.

Public wellbeing should be put above elections

THE next general election (GE) should not be held early due to concerns that it would undo all the government’s efforts to curb Covid-19 under the National Recovery Plan.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Community Health Expert Professor Dr Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh said there is no immediate need to hold GE because the country has experienced several times how hard it is to fight the pandemic.

“We cannot control this disease. If we continue to ignore this, we will expose more people to it.

Even though the vaccination rate has reached a high percentage coupled with strict SOPs, there is a concern that the public would not adhere to it – pic by TMR FILE

“If we look at several states like Kelantan for example, we can see that the infection rate is still high. Even the Health Ministry has said that the infection rate is increasing.

“We have also seen the death rate increase.

So, what other indications do we need to continue with a GE?” she said when contacted.

Environmental and Occupational Health Academy Malaysia Public Health director Assoc Prof Dr Marzuki Isahak said 15th General Election must be delayed until the daily infection rate and hospitalisation numbers stabilise.

He said even though the vaccination rate has reached a high percentage coupled with strict standard operating procedures, there is a concern that the public would not adhere to it.