Pakatan Harapan today announced that it will not be contesting in the upcoming Chini by-election in Pahang, citing the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as their main deterrent.
PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the decision was taken by the Pakatan Harapan presidential council in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The seat fell vacant following the death on May 6 of Abu Bakar Harun, who retained it for Umno with a 4,622-vote majority against PAS and PKR in the 2018 general election.
“New normal standard operating procedures (SOP) are being drafted, but the safety and health of voters remain a concern,” Saifuddin said in a statement.
“For example, prohibition of more than 20 people from congregating at a ceramic needs to be looked into.
“And we have not been informed of the procedures of door-to-door campaigning, on setting up our tents, and other matters of great importance which are commonalities in the context of mobilising and preparing for an election.
“Hence, after taking such matters into consideration, PKR and the Pakatan Harapan presidential council have agreed that PKR will not be nominating a candidate for the upcoming Chini state assembly by-elections,” he said.
Previously, Amanah communications chief Khalid Samad said PH needed to field a candidate for the by-election despite its heavy defeat in previous by-elections.
The Chini state constituency comes under the Pekan parliamentary constituency, whose MP is former prime minister Najib Razak.
The Chini state by-election will be the first to be held when the country is facing the Covid-19 pandemic. The EC has set the nomination on June 20, with early voting on June 30 and polling on July 4.