Simultaneous By-Elections For Gerik And Bugaya On Jan 16

PUTRAJAYA: Simultaneous by-elections for both the Gerik parliamentary seat in Perak and Bugaya state seat in Sabah have been set for Jan 16, 2021.

Announcing this, Election Commission (EC) chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh said the nomination for both by-elections has also been set for Jan 4, while early voting on Jan 12.

The two by-elections have to be held due to the unexpected vacancies of the seats following the death of the respective incumbents.

The incumbent of Gerik seat, Datuk Hasbullah Osman died on Nov 16, while the incumbent for Bugaya state seat, Manis Muka Mohd Darah, breathed her last on Nov 17.

Hasbullah won the Gerik seat with a 5,528-vote majority in the 14th General Election, while Manis Muka retained her Bugaya state seat by defeating her six opponents with a 6,005-vote majority in the state election on Sept 26 this year.

Abdul Ghani said the campaign period for both by-elections was set for 12 days beginning after the announcement of the names of candidates until 11.59 pm on Jan 16.’

“The EC is expecting 70 per cent voter turnout. The EC is also seeking cooperation from all quarters, including the media and all political parties to lure and encourage the voters to cast their votes,” he said.

Abdul Ghani said for Gerik by-election, the EC will use the third quarter Electoral Roll (DPPR ST3/2020) which has the names of 36,750 voters, comprising 33,675 ordinary voters, military personnel and spouses (2,111), police personnel and spouses (959) and absentee voters overseas (five).

For Bugaya by-election, Abdul Ghani said the EC would also use DPPR ST3/2020 which listed 21,618 registered voters comprising 21,181 ordinary voters and 437 police personnel and spouses.

The nomination and official vote-tallying centre for Gerik by-election will be at the Gerik District Council multipurpose hall, while for the Bugaya by-election, at the Semporna Community Hall.

Abdul Ghani said the EC had made some improvements to the COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines for the Implementation of Election, which was used during the Sabah state election, for use during the two by-elections.

He said, during the campaign, all face-to-face campaign activities, including ceramah, house visit, walkabout and distribution of pamphlets were not allowed.

“Candidates are encouraged to campaign using social media platforms. They are also allowed to put up their banners in the by-election areas,” he said.

However, he said all candidates or their party workers should avoid any contact during the installation of the banners to comply with the physical distancing rule.

Campaign activities using vehicles with loudspeaker are allowed at appropriate times, but must not pull in a crowd or cause a gathering of supporters, he said.

Abdul Ghani said 1,309 election workers will be appointed to handle the Gerik by-election at 23 polling centres with 81 voting channels, with an estimated allocation of RM5.8 million.

For Bugaya, he said 544 workers will be appointed to handle the nine polling centres with 46 voting channels involving an estimated allocation of RM4.7 million.