World

Sabah should serve as 'alarm bell' against snap polls: Medical expert

Sabah should serve as 'alarm bell' against snap polls, says medical expert

PETALING JAYA The sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in Sabah should serve as an "alarm bell" against the holding of a snap general election, warned a top medical expert.

Universiti Malaya Academician Emeritus Professor Lam Sai Kit said the recent Sabah state election provided a useful lesson on what is likely to happen if snap polls are held.

"There has been speculation that the government may call for a snap general election based on the results of the Sabah polls. I think (this) will be a wrong move.

"This is not the time to consider a countrywide election," he said yesterday.

Dr Lam, who was central in the discovery of the Nipah Virus, said a snap general election would provide only more opportunities for Covid-19 to spread - much more than what has already happened in Sabah.

He said campaigning during a general election would lead to larger and more frequent political gatherings, as well as the vast movement of people throughout the country.

"People would also be urged to return home to their respective states to vote and this would mean there would be no travel ban," he said, adding this excluded the movement of Election Commission and security personnel assisting with the polls.

Malaysia yesterday reported 89 cases, a slight improvement from the three days of triple-digit infection increases.

There were two new deaths, taking the toll to 136.

Meanwhile in Indonesia, the Jakarta administration is setting up a 2ha plot of land in Rorotan public cemetery in North Jakarta for Covid-19 graves as burial space for victims of the coronavirus is running out.

Jakarta Bina Marga road agency head Hari Nugroho said the administration was preparing the land to be used for burials and building the necessary infrastructure.

Since the pandemic hit the country in March, 6,248 bodies have been buried with Covid-19 protocols in Jakarta.

Last month, the capital city recorded 1,372 Covid-19-related burials, the highest monthly rise yet.

Indonesia yesterday reported 4,284 cases, taking the total to 287,008. There were also 139 deaths, taking the total to 10,740.

The Philippines confirmed 2,426 infections and 58 additional deaths.

Total cases had increased to 311,694, while deaths had reached 5,504. - THE STAR, THE JAKARTA POST, REUTERS

WORLD