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EC: Three simultaneous by-elections not a problem

JOHOR BARU, 17 Feb 2009: Holding three by-elections on the same day is not a problem for the Election Commission (EC), said its chairperson Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusoff.

With the date for the by-elections in Bukit Selambau, Kedah and Bukit Gantang, Perak already set for 7 April, there is now the possibility a by-election will also be called for Bukit Lanjan in Selangor.

This follows Selangor executive councillor (exco), Elizabeth Wong, 37, today offering to quit both her post and the Bukit Lanjan state assembly seat in the wake of a nude picture scandal affecting her.   

“If the seat is declared vacant, I do not rule out the possibility of all three by-elections being held the same day,” he told reporters after attending an EC conference here.

On criticisms by opposition parties that the 7 April date for the Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang by-elections favoured the Barisan Nasional (BN) as it comes just after Umno holds its polls (end March), Abdul Aziz denied this was so and that the EC decided on the dates after considering many factors.

These included budgets, preparation of election personnel, whether the date clashed with any major events like the Umno general assembly and even the weather, he said. 

“The EC is fair to all, if the opposition parties have a major event, this too would be considered when dates for by-elections are set,” he added.

The Bukit Gantang by-election is necessitated by the death of its Member of Parliament Roslan Shaharum, 50, of PAS on 9 Feb after a heart attack, while the Bukit Selambau by-election is due its assemblyperson V Arumugam of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) quitting on 8 Feb.

Nomination for both by-elections in is on 29 March. — Bernama


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