Bad Idea To Hold GE Amid COVID-19 Cases Spike, Experts Warn

  • 30 Sep 2020

It would be a bad idea to hold a snap general election amid a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, medical experts have warned. 

Speaking to The Star, Universiti Malaya Academician Emeritus Professor Dr Lam Sai Kit, and Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Subramaniam Muniandy, cited the Sabah state election as a case study. 

Sabah currently has the most number of active COVID-19 cases, with 888 cases recorded as of yesterday afternoon. 

"There has been speculation that the government may call for a snap general election based on the results of the Sabah polls. I think (this) will be a wrong move. 

"This is not the time to consider a countrywide election," Dr Lam, who played a key role in the discovery of the Nipah virus, was quoted telling the daily. 

According to him, a snap general polls would only provide more opportunities for COVID-19 to spread further, as it would involve campaigning, political gatherings, and cross state/district border travels. 

This, in turn, would only place more burden to frontliners and health services, who are already struggling to contain the pandemic, he said. 

Dr Subramaniam, in echoing similar views, said Sabah was a lesson in what could happen if a snap general election is called soon.

"It (Sabah state polls) was allowed to proceed and cases of Covid-19 did spike there with several clusters detected. There are also cases in Peninsular Malaysia traced back to Sabah," he said, adding that the government and the Election Commission (EC) should first consult with the Health Ministry, as well as gather feedback from the public, prior to deciding to call for snap polls. 

Meanwhile, virologist Dr Sazaly Abu Bakar of Universiti Malaya also opined that any activity that involves mass gatherings should be avoided until the virus is completely eliminated, or an effective treatment or vaccine for the coronavirus is found. 

The experts' warnings come following Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's recent statement that a general election could be called ahead of time if the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) won last week's state election. 

The COVID-19 outbreak has been on an upward trend again in the last week, with over 100 new cases recorded daily in the last three days.

So far, Malaysia has recorded a total of 11,135 confirmed COVID-cases, with 134 deaths. 

The global infection and death tally from the disease have surpassed 33.8 million, and one million, respectively. 

Source: The Star
Photo source: Astro Awani

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