KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 (NNN-Bernama) — The general election, state elections and by-elections will not be held during the period of the COVID-19 emergency proclaimed Tuesday and to remain in force until Aug 1, clarified Muhyiddin Yassin.
The prime minister said it is not his intention to not call a general election but the COVID-19 pandemic is the major reason preventing him from advising the King, Yang di-Pertuan Agong to dissolve parliament for a general election to be held.
“This decision is in accordance with one of the five principles of maqasid syariah, namely protection of life. In this context, it is my duty as the head of government to protect the lives of the people from COVID-19 infection.
“This is the main concept demanded by Islam,” he said in a special national address broadcast live by local television stations Tuesday.
Nevertheless, Muhyiddin gave a firm commitment that elections will be held once the special Independent Committee to be set up to manage the COVID-19 situation gives the word that the disease has eased off or the country has fully recovered from the pandemic and that it is safe to hold elections.
“Under normal circumstances, a by-election must be held within 60 days of a seat falling vacant; a state election must be held within 60 days of the dissolution of the state legislative assembly.
“We know that the people do not want elections to be held now so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections like in the case of the recent Sabah state election,” he said.
Muhyiddin said that after the special Independent Committee recommends that it is safe to hold elections, it will be up to the people to elect a government which they think is qualified to govern the country and look after the welfare of the people.
“This is a commitment and pledge that I will fulfill, Insya Allah (God willing),” he said.
The prime minister said that at a time when the country and people are facing a major difficulty, it is very important for all politicians to set aside their differences and be in solidarity with the people.
“When the time comes for political activity, engage in it with full responsibility,” he said.
Muhyiddin also said that during the period of the emergency, parliament and the state legislative assemblies will not convene until such time as stipulated by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Earlier, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah consented to the proclamation of an emergency to be in effect up to Aug 1 as a proactive measure to contain the worsening COVID-19 pandemic in the country.