There are now 4 possible by-elections in Malaysia: Bkt Selambau, Bkt Gantang, Batang Ai and Pensiangan. Could they be decided by the EC/SPR to run concurrently?
The election in Batang Ai is confirmed by EC-and the date would be out in a day or 2. The Assemblyman dies before 3 years of office is up-so it is mandatory for a by-election to be held. There is no room for change. However given the exceptionally ample time in the run up to the by-elections in the 2 bukits the EC can choose to run this by-election together with the first 2, to fulfil whatever objectives it may see fit. For one the simultaneous running of the by-elections would advantage BN as the Sabah & Sarawak by-elections would be run by its component parties in the states there-whereas for PR the campaigns would be run by the same party ie PKR, thus stretching thin the party’s attention and resources.
Actually observers groups would be facing a resource challenge as the by-elections in Sabah and Sarawak are in the deep interiors where travel and local familiarity pose formidable obstacles. But failing to take up the challenge would effectively reduce the `national’ groups to West Malaysian outfits!
The Pensiangan by-election would be decided pretty soon as the federal court which heard the final appeal had chosen a Mar date to pronounce its judgement. It would be in time to make this by-election to run on Apr 7th as the other 3 by-elections.
So could this be the grand strategy by EC /SPR to decide to hold the by-elections for the 2 bukits on the last week before its mandate to run the by-elections run out in 60 days after the notices of vacation of the seat were announced?
UPDATE: The EC/SPR will decide the dates for the polling of N29 Batang Ai on Mar 4th. It seems that the EC is giving itself some time here-to take into considerations of orders from above? EC should be able to make decision based on its own neutral considerations.