YOURSAY | Batu Sapi emergency - public health or power?


Modified 20 Nov 2020, 1:48 am

YOURSAY | ‘All political parties have decided to give way to Warisan except for Bersatu...'

Emergency declared in Batu Sapi, by-election postponed

Newday: Are you happy now, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin? You got your state of emergency declared to postpone a by-election soon after a state election was held.

The Batu Sapi by-election should have been a walkover for whoever was nominated by the incumbent party Warisan. Instead, this state of affairs is on your head - for all the grief caused by politicians and their staff bringing Covid-19 back to the Peninsular after the Sabah state election.

Is your desire for power that great that you want another state seat for Bersatu and Perikatan Nasional (PN)?

KCAmpang: @Newday, to preserve democracy, the by-election should be allowed.

A responsible government may mitigate the risk by discouraging in-person campaigning and extra-stringent Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP) enforcement.

Jetson: Singapore had their elections and so did New Zealand. Both nations did it successfully with millions of voters doing their part.

There was no major outbreak or increase in Covid-19 numbers after the elections were held. They were both done under strict SOPs.

What can we say? We cannot even manage an election in one parliamentary constituency.

VP Biden: All the political parties have decided to give way to Warisan in Batu Sapi, except for Bersatu who has eyes on the seat. That’s why there’s an emergency.

OrangeJaguar9341: Indeed, all Muhyiddin needed to do was concede the seat. Let the representative of the incumbent's party take the seat uncontested. Isn’t this what BN had said they agreed to? I'm guessing Bersatu is the culprit here.

Don’t ever say this backdoor government cares for the rakyat. They would rather declare an emergency - no matter its toll on the people - instead of being a gentleman.

It’s all about power for them. Sadly, there's no check and balance to their wanton lust for control.

Constitutional Supremacy: This emergency declaration is on the advice of the prime minister. But requesting an emergency for a by-election is overkill. It is probably to set the trend. The target appears to be Sarawak.

Sarawak needs to wake up. If an emergency is declared in Sarawak, then the state government will fall. Sarawak will then be directly ruled by the prime minister. This way, Bersatu can enter through the backdoor and entrench itself in the state government.

It is in Sarawak’s interest to see Budget 2021 defeated. It must then propose an amendment to the Federal Constitution to enable a postponement of elections.

Fernz: Yes, if an emergency is declared in Sarawak, federal rule will be imposed. This used to be common in India. They call it president's rule.

An emergency was declared in Kelantan in 1977. The state government was dismissed and a federal director of operations appointed. I believe an election was called after five months.

An emergency should have been declared in Sabah instead of allowing a snap state election on Sept 26.

Anonymous_3f4b: Indeed, an emergency should have been declared prior to the snap Sabah state elections.

But then the state opposition at the time would have cried foul and accuse the state government of usurping the rights of Sabahans to vote and choose their government.

The state election was held at the expense of mass Covid-19 deaths and a pandemic disaster in Sabah.

Kim Quek: First, proclaiming an emergency for the ulterior motive of putting off an election may not be constitutional, as such a motive does not satisfy any of the three causes stipulated in Article 151(1) of the Federal Constitution.

Recent by-elections held for Slim (Perak) and Chini (Pahang) indicated that by-elections can take place without causing the proliferation of Covid-19.

Secondly, even if such a proclamation is constitutional, it does not automatically follow that the by-election for Batu Sapi will be discontinued.

The Agong has to promulgate an ordinance to that effect in accordance with Article 150(2B) if he wants to put off the by-election. But he can only do so when both houses of Parliament are not sitting.

Even when the emergency is proclaimed and such an ordinance is promulgated, these could be annulled by Parliament by passing a resolution to that effect at any time, in accordance with Article 150(3).

Finally, I think the real motive of the current proclamation of emergency is not to prevent the triggering of a new wave of Covid-19 through the Batu Sapi by-election, but to pave the way for a general emergency to be declared to save wobbly Muhyiddin from his imminent fall.

Annonnymous 080: “With this proclamation, any proceedings for the Batu Sapi by-election will be discontinued to prevent a fourth wave of Covid-19 and a new date will be determined for the by-election."

1)There is little doubt that the Agong has the authority to declare an emergency but to do so to avoid a by-election, is certainly difficult to explain. There is no provision in the Constitution to declare an emergency to skip an election.

Furthermore, there isn’t a definite provision in the Constitution that empowers the declaration that "a new date will be determined for the by-election".

2) In the last general election, Malaysians residing overseas were able to vote via post and the Election Commission (EC) was able to handle such. We have had the EC for as long as since Merdeka with an annually increasing budget but seemingly unable to hold an election in the interior area where the population is low and voting could be done on a staggered basis over a few days. Why were these options not chosen?

3) How long is the emergency declaration for when the situation in Peninsular Malaysia is worse now than that in Batu Sapi?

Public Transit Is Better Than Highways: This emergency declaration may read well on paper for the given context of Covid-19, but this will set a precedent for the future if we encounter an extreme authoritarian government (even more than the likes of PN) to utilise this mechanism to declare emergencies in certain regions, wherever they like, to prevent an election.

They may do this now, but that does not discount the possibility of this happening again in the future.

Quigonbond: Batu Sapi by-election now, general elections next? If not for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, I should be very worried about this development.

This is a prelude to more emergencies given the upcoming by-election upon the death of another MP as well as a state assemblyperson.

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