Abdul Karim: I’m all for an election, no point staying in power without the people’s mandate

Abdul Karim speaking at a press conference at Bangunan Baitul Makmur today (July 28, 2021).

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, July 28: Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah is all for the Sarawak State Election to be held after August as he refuses to stay in power without the people’s mandate.

“I don’t think I want to stay on as a ‘wakil rakyat’ (people’s representative) without the mandate from the people, as they have the right to determine who should be the government,” he said.

He added that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition was given five years to rule as government, and that period has expired over a month ago on June 6.

However, with the declaration of a state of Emergency in Malaysia that took precedence over all written laws, he said the term of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) was extended until the last day of the emergency on Aug 1.

Now that the federal government has revealed its Cabinet’s consensus not to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for an extension of the Emergency Order, the State Election should not be deferred further as well, Abdul Karim opined.

“This is my personal opinion, but it’s anybody’s guess. I read in the news that quite a number of politicians, whether from the government or opposition, have requested for the elections to be postponed further.

“But, we must understand the rights of citizens. This is a parliamentary right.

“We (The GPS-led government) do (does) not want to hold onto power on the pretense of the emergency of a pandemic,” he said during a press conference to announce the Southeast Asia Youth Mental Health Conference at Bangunan Baitul Makmur here today.

Responding to those who are opposed towards an election being held during the pandemic, he questioned whether Sarawak w as in a condition where it is menaced by a serious health threat depicted as one of the criteria for an emergency declaration, when the public is allowed to drive on the streets, shop for groceries and dine in restaurants.

Abdul Karim, who is also Minister of Youth and Sports, said Covid-19 will continue to be a part of everyone’s lives in the years to come, thus it is only right to hold elections with strict standard operating procedure (SOP) and proper restrictions.

“Why not? There’s nothing to fear. I believe Malaysians, as well as Sarawakians have already adapted to the Covid-19 situation.

“If Covid-19 is going on for another five years, are we going to postpone it (State Elections) that long?” he said.

On the date of when the state elections will begin, Abdul Karim predicted for it to be in late September, the earliest, as many preparation works need to be done by the Election Commission (EC) which cannot be completed within a month’s time. — DayakDaily