PUTRAJAYA，Nov 27: The Election Commission (EC) today said it will go ahead with the Gerik parliamentary and Bugaya state by-elections.
EC chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh said both by-elections will be held on Jan 16.
Nominations will be held on Jan 4, followed by early voting on Jan 12.
At a press conference here, Ghani said the by-elections must be held within 60 days after the seats had been declared vacant. The incumbents for both seats had passed away recently.
“The by-elections will follow Covid-19 SOPs,” he said, adding that a 12-day election campaign, restricted to online activities, will be allowed.
The announcement follows the postponement of the Batu Sapi parliamentary seat by-election, originally scheduled for Dec 5, after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong consented to a declaration of a state of emergency in the constituency to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Ghani said all campaign activities in Gerik and Bugaya such as ceramahs, house visits, walkabouts and distribution of pamphlets will not be allowed.
“The candidates are encouraged to use social media. They will be allowed to put up banners and bunting,” he said.
However, campaigning using vehicles with loudspeakers will be allowed for a “reasonable time” although no gatherings will be permitted.
The by-elections follow the death of four-term Gerik MP Hasbullah Osman on Nov 16, and Bugaya assemblyman Manis Muka Mohd Darah a day later.
The Batu Sapi by-election was called following the death of the MP, former minister Liew Vui Keong.
Ghani said the Gerik by-election is expected to cost the EC RM5.8 million. He said 1,309 officers will be appointed to oversee the polls. There are 36,750 registered voters, including 2,111 army and 959 police officers and their spouses.
The Bugaya by-election is expected to cost the EC RM4.7 million. A total of 544 EC personnel will be on duty in the state seat, which has 21,618 registered voters, including 437 police officers and their spouses.
The EC hopes for a 70% voter turnout in the two by-elections..
Voters may check their status at pengundi.spr.gov.my or SMS 15888 or through the MySPR Semak application.