UMNO must be mindful of pandemic amid calls for GE15

UMNO PRESIDENT Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has announced plans for the party to compete solo in the country’s next general elections.

The Bagan Datuk MP also said that the party will not work with opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, DAP or Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) in the next general election, adding that all other political cooperation and alliances will only be considered after the election and will depend on how many seats the party wins then.

Zahid, backed by the Umno supreme council, was given the authority to decide on when to withdraw support for the Perikatan Nasional Government ” if there are no indications of a general election in the near future”.

Well, that’s fine – after all, the party has every right to do what it thinks is in its best interest. However, it must also remember that the country is in the midst of a pandemic, and if it were to force a general election, it must be at a time when it is safe again for millions of Malaysians to go to the polls.

Let last year’s Sabah state elections serve as a reminder to all.

Despite reports of full compliance with COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs), with voters practicing physical distancing and wearing face masks and the Election Commission (EC) workers conducting body temperature checks, the state polls later went on to become one of the main causes of the third wave of COVID-19 infections in the country.

Should the elections be held on a national level, can you imagine what will become of the pandemic situation in Malaysia? Surely the number of infections will spike once more and repercussions this time around – on the economy as well as on the wellbeing of the rakyat – would be much more severe!

While the COVID-19 cases in the past few weeks have remained between 1,300 and 1,500 in the past few weeks, this does not mean that we are out of the woods yet. Given our history with the coronavirus, perhaps it is better to be safe than sorry. – March 31, 2021


Photo credit: AFP

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