The Election Commission (EC) has fixed Jan 16 for both the Gerik parliamentary and Bugaya state seat by-elections.

Its chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh told a press conference today that nominations will be held on Jan 4, while early voting will be on Jan 12.

The Gerik by-election in Perak is called after its incumbent Hasbullah Osman died on Nov 16, while the incumbent for the Bugaya state seat in Sabah, Manis Muka Mohd Darah, passed away on Nov 17.

"The by-elections will follow COVID-19 SOPs (standard operating procedures)," Free Malaysia Today (FMT) quoted Abdul Ghani as saying.

While the placing of banners and buntings will be allowed, the EC will forbid the candidates from conducting ceramahs, house visits, walkabouts, and distribution of pamphlets during the 12-day campaign period. Campaigning using vehicles with loudspeakers will also be allowed for a "reasonable time", but no gatherings will be permitted.

Candidates will have to canvass for votes online, via social media.

It is worth noting that the government recently postponed the Batu Sapi parliamentary seat by-election, which was supposed to take place on Dec 5, following the spike in COVID-19 cases.

The postponement was made possible after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong consented for a state of emergency to be declared in the constituency to curb the spread of the disease.

According to Ghani, both the Gerik and Bugaya by-elections are set to cost the EC a total of RM10.5 million, and a voter turnout of about 70% are expected for both polls.

Source: FMT
Photo source: Bernama