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By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, Oct 22: Sarawak needs to hold its State Election because the current government’s mandate is over, and not because they want to avoid the implementation of Undi18, asserts Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
He also denied the allegation by certain quarters that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is afraid of Undi18 due to unpredictable young voters, and hence must hold the election soon.
Abang Johari reminded that on Nov 12, 2020, the Sarawak State Assembly (DUN) passed the Bill to amend Article 16 of the State Constitution to lower the minimum age required for a person to become an elected representative from 21 to 18-years-old.
This he said, will align the State Constitution with the amended Article 47(b) and Article 119(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution which had reduced the qualifying age for voters from 21 to 18-years-old.
“We are not afraid of Undi18. There is democracy and we respect Undi18, otherwise we would not amend our State Constitution in the first place.
“I know of three states in Malaysia that have yet to do so,” Abang Johari told reporters at a press conference after the launch of Kuching as a member of the Hybrid City Alliance and ‘Meet in Malaysia @ Sarawak’ roadshow today.
He acknowledged feeling guilty concerning talk that he was simply “borrowing time” or why he was still in power when the government’s mandate had already expired.
GPS’ mandate as the State government expired in June this year.
“And yet, when we ask for a mandate by holding the election (soon) so that people can choose their government, they say we are afraid of Undi18,” Abang Johari laments.
Since Sarawak is still under the Emergency Ordinance, which is due to be lifted in February 2022 due to Covid-19, he said they will only decide on holding an election when it is lifted.— DayakDaily