PKR opts out of Chini by-election, cites Covid-19 safety issue

PKR says its decision to skip the Chini by-election on July 4 has been approved by the Pakatan Harapan presidential council.

PETALING JAYA: PKR today announced it will not be fielding a candidate for the by-election in Chini, Pahang, on July 4.

Its secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the decision was taken by the Pakatan Harapan presidential council in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The seat fell vacant following the death on May 6 of Abu Bakar Harun, who retained it for Umno with a 4,622-vote majority against PAS and PKR in the 2018 general election.

“New normal standard operating procedures (SOP) are being drafted, but the safety and health of voters remain a concern,” Saifuddin said in a statement.

“PKR believes the SOPs that will be issued will impact campaigning and fieldwork. For example, the ban on mass gatherings of more than 20 for public speaking events needs to be looked at. We also have yet to be informed of the procedure for campaigning from house to house and other matters that are important in the context of preparing for an election.”

Previously, Amanah communications chief Khalid Samad said PH needed to field a candidate for the by-election despite its heavy defeat in previous by-elections.

The Chini state constituency comes under the Pekan parliamentary constituency, whose MP is former prime minister Najib Razak.

Nomination day is June 20.

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