Delay state election until Covid-19 is under control, Teo urges

Dr Michael Teo

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KUCHING, Oct 22: PKR national Vice-president Dr Michael Teo Yu Keng urged Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to delay the state election until Covid-19 pandemic crisis is under control.

As a medical practitioner Dr Teo lamented his concern over repeated announcements made by Sarawak Government which intends to hold the state election very soon while the country is fighting hard against the deadly epidemic.

“Following Sabah state election, our country is once again experiencing a drastic increase in the number of Covid-19 as well as death cases. If Sarawak holds the state election soon, it will endanger the well-being all Sarawakians, including the young, the high-risk and the elderly.

“The move by the Sarawak state government to hold election at this time is absurd. This will endanger the lives of our election commission staff, teachers who will work at the polling center as well as all of our medical and enforcement front liners,” Dr Teo disclosed in a statement.

He asserted that Sarawak Government should hold the election at a later time and must also ensure adequate allocation and the ability to deal with any unexpected increase in cases including fast supply of diagnostic test kits, personal protection equipment (PPE) and intensive care unit (ICU) beds as well as ventilators throughout Sarawak and trained medical staff.

“It is very sad to see the ICU beds in Sabah hospitals reaching more than 75 percent with many critically ill patients. Doctors and nurses have to work around the clock to treat these unfortunate patients. Due to the lack of nurses and health experts in Sabah, many front line workers from Sarawak and the Peninsula Malaysia had to be flown into Sabah to help.

“While on duty, some of these medical staffs got infected with the Covid-19. This is indeed a huge sacrifice on them and their families,” he said, adding that the current neglected medical system in Sabah and Sarawak means both states were unable to care for many ICU or critical patients during this pandemic.

Dr Teo also pointed that Sarawak Government should not conduct elections without taking into account proper check and balance to ensure that elections are conducted in a clean and fair manner.

“The amount of funds needed to conduct an election must be accounted for. Sabah’s recent election cost taxpayers millions of Ringgit when these funds could have been spent on purchasing more diagnostic test kits, ventilators, upgrading of hospitals or even provide assistance for the B40 and M40 group who are suffering from the global economic downturn during this time,” Dr Teo said.—DayakDaily