Pandemic panel to discuss risks of holding elections

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Election Commission chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh says the pandemic committee will make recommendations on the feasibility of holding a general election. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: The federal government’s pandemic management committee is to study the feasibility of holding a general election in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Election Commission chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh said today.

“This committee will conduct a risk assessment and submit recommendations to the government as to whether it is or is not appropriate to hold the general election,” he said in a statement here today.

The pandemic committee comprises the National Security Council, the health ministry, National Disaster Management Agency, the police and other related agencies.

The EC statement comes in the wake of political pressure being exerted on Umno to withdraw support from the ruling Perikatan Nasional coalition and thus trigger a snap general election.

However senior Umno member Khairy Jamaluddin has criticised the calls for fresh elections, saying that there were high risks to public health and to Umno’s reputation.

He said the Sabah elections last year had shown the lack of compliance with health SOPs “especially among politicians”, and it was inappropriate to uphold the example of other countries that have successfully held elections recently, such as New Zealand and Singapore.

Last Wednesday, Abdul Ghani, was quoted as saying that the 15th general election can be carried out smoothly if all parties work together and give full cooperation to comply with the new norms and Covid-19 prevention guidelines, even during this health crisis.

 

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