Tighter SOP For Batu Sapi By-Election – Ismail Sabri

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will discuss with the Election Commission (EC) to set tighter standard operating procedure (SOP) for the Batu Sapi parliamentary by-election on Dec 5, said Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said the COVID-19 SOP needed to be tightened to ensure that the health of the people would not be compromised when they go out to vote in the by-election.

“We will call the EC tomorrow or day after to present an enhanced SOP to ensure the health of residents in Batu Sapi (is protected) when going out to cast their ballots.

“We cannot stop anyone from going out to cast their ballot because the Federal Constitution gives every citizen the right to vote. So, the EC will issue the SOP to reduce movements and contact between individuals throughout the by-election period,” he told a news conference on developments on the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) here today.

Ismail Sabri also said the government was not empowered to disallow the holding of any election as the matter is under the jurisdiction of the EC.

“I would like to clarify again that it is not within the power of the government to determine (elections); it comes under the (Article 150 of Federal) Constitution and jurisdiction of the EC,” Ismail Sabri added.

The Batu Sapi seat in Sabah fell vacant following the death of its Member of Parliament, Datuk Liew Vui Keong of Parti Warisan Sabah, on Oct 2.

The EC has set Nov 23 for nomination and Dec 1 for early voting for the by-election.

Batu Sapi has 32,962 voters, including 672 army and 1,138 police personnel.

Asked on married couples staying apart in Conditional Movement Control Order areas, he said they could apply for a police permit to make interstate travel to meet up once a week.

“The public can refer to the National Security Council website (www.mkn.gov.my), which has details on the SOP, regulations and ways of applying for police permission and the like,” he said.

Ismail Sabri also said the SOP for Deepavali celebration on Nov 14 would be finalised this week before it is announced.

On the RM1 fee waiver for making ATM withdrawals via MEPS machines, he said the exemption is still in force and it is up to the Finance Ministry to decide when it would end.