EC preps for Sabah polls while awaiting court decision

EC acting chairman Azmi Sharom says it is the commission’s responsibility to carry on.

PETALING JAYA: The Election Commission is to continue with preparations for the Sabah state general election while awaiting a decision on a suit seeking to halt the elections.

An application for a judicial review of the EC’s decision to call the elections has been filed at the High Court in Kota Kinabalu.

A lawyer and two businessmen in Sabah say the elections should not be held while the country deals with the Covid-19 threat, and also while an appeal by Umno assemblyman Musa Aman to be declared the rightful chief minister is pending at the Federal Court.

EC acting chairman Azmi Sharom said the commission will continue with preparations while awaiting the court’s decision. “We have to continue, it is our responsibility,” he told FMT.

Azmi said it was “not really a problem” to conduct state elections amid the pandemic, as the EC had recently conducted a by-election in Chini, Pahang, and will hold the Slim by-election in Perak later this month.

There are 73 seats in the Sabah state legislative assembly, and while it will involve more resources and larger costs, Azmi says what is important is that hygiene and security protocols are in place.

“Now we are working to make sure that the logistics are in place, we will inform the public on a date as soon as we are able to.”

The Sabah election was triggered by the dissolution of the state assembly amid a political crisis, and must be conducted within 60 days from July 30.