Muhyiddin finally admits Sabah elections led to massive spike in COVID-19 cases

Muhyiddin Yassin speaking during the live address yesterday. Photo: Radio Televisyen Malaysia
Muhyiddin Yassin speaking during the live address yesterday. Photo: Radio Televisyen Malaysia

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday admitted that the Sabah state elections held in September had led to a new wave of COVID-19 infections currently accounting 80% of total cases. 

Muhyiddin, 73, conceded during his speech to the nation yesterday, after king Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah declared a state of emergency in Batu Sapi in Sabah and postponed the by-election there. 

“Regarding the by-elections in Batu Sapi, the government has considerent the consequences of the COVID-19 transmission rate in Sabah following September’s elections,” Muhyiddin said in his live address yesterday. The by-election was originally scheduled to take place Dec. 5 following the death of Batu Sapi MP Liew Vui Keong in October.

“Four weeks after the elections, on October 24, Sabah became the first state in Malaysia to record more than 10,000 COVID-19 infections,” Muhyiddin added. 

“We do not want to see a new wave of COVID-19 infections starting in Batu Sapi, hence we will hold the by-elections when the pandemic is over,” he said. 

Liew reportedly died of a lung infection that was not related to the coronavirus. 

Parts of Sabah including Lahad Datu and Semporna entered a two-week lockdown just days after citizens went to the polls. As of yesterday, Malaysia’s state hit hardest by COVID-19 reported 24,269 infections.

More than 30,000 had registered to vote in Batu Sapi, located 300 kilometers from the state capital Kota Kinabalu. Batu Sapi is under the Conditional Movement Control Order, which means businesses are allowed to operate under curfew and people are banned from traveling between states. An emergency in Batu 

READ: CMCO? EMCO?! Malaysia’s four flavors of lockdown explained

The Federal Constitution states that a vacant parliamentary seat must be filled within 60 days, unless the government is set to dissolve in two years. The emergency declaration to postpone the Batu Sapi by-election is expected to last until a new date is set for polls.

Malaysia has recorded 50,390 new COVID-19 cases since the outbreak began in February with 660 new infections yesterday. The death toll stands at 322.

Other stories to check out:

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