PUTRAJAYA – The Election Commission (EC) has set the date for the polling for Batu Sapi by-election on Dec 5.
In a press conference here today, EC chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh said the nomination will be on Nov 23, while the early voting on Dec 1.
The by-election is being called following the death of its incumbent Datuk Liew Vui Keong of lung infection on Oct 2.
At the 14th General Election, Liew from Parti Warisan Sabah won the seat with 4,619 vote-majority in a four-cornered fight.
The Batu Sapi by-election is the 13th by-election called after the last general election on May 9, 2018.
Last month, the Sabah state election was held. Batu Sapi is a parliamentary constituency in the district of Sandakan in Sabah.
Yesterday, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the implementation of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) throughout Sabah effective today until Oct 26.
Prior to this, Abdul Ghani was reported as saying that the Batu Sapi parliamentary by-election needs to be called as enshrined in the Federal Constitution and could only be postponed if the government declared a state of emergency in the area.
However, he said the EC will not allow any visits or walkabout by candidates or their supporters during the campaign for the by-election.
Instead, Abdul Ghani said the candidates could campaign online or through their social media platforms or by distributing pamphlet via postal mail so as to curb the spread of COVID-19.
He said the EC had also prepared a COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines for the Implementation of Election in line with the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 or Act 342.
“Basically, the EC proposes that no open campaigns, mass gatherings or house-to-house visits be conducted during the by-election. We suggest it be done through social media,” he said.
Abdul Ghani said the campaign period is set for 12 days starting after the announcement of the names of contesting candidates until 11.59 pm on Dec 4.
Abdul Ghani said the nomination and vote-tallying for the Batu Sapi by-election will be held at the auditorium of the Sabah Forestry Department headquarters in Sandakan, while the vote-tallying for the early and postal votes will be held at Dewan Jati, also at the Sabah Forestry Department headquarters.
Sandakan Municipal Council Deputy President I Faridah Giau (rpt Giau) has been appointed as the returning officer for the by-election and she will be assisted by five assistant returning officers, he said.
Abdul Ghani said the Batu Sapi parliamentary by-election will cost about RM6 million and involve 837 workers and 13 polling centres with 67 polling channels.
Batu Sapi has 32,962 normal voters comprising 31,152 normal voters, 672 military personnel and their spouses, and 1,138 police personnel and their spouses.