‘Call to revise Constitution to extend term of current state assembly akin to forming backdoor govt’

Voon Lee Shan

KUCHING, Nov 11: The suggestion to amend the Sarawak Constitution to extend the current term of the current State Legislative Assembly (DUN) so that Sarawak does not have to hold its election given the spike in Covid-19 cases is akin to forming a “backdoor” government.

Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan highlighted this in objecting to Layar assemblyman Gerald Rentap Jabu’s suggestion for the state constitution be amended to extend the current term of the assembly beyond five years on grounds that it was not safe to hold the state election in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“If the term of the DUN is extended by an amendment to the constitution, this means the term of BN/GPS government is also extended.
“This will set a very dangerous political path for Sarawak to travel because it could lead to tyranny and dictatorship,” he said in a statement today.


Voon opined that once the term is allowed to be extended, there may be no stop to it as Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government with powers in their hands, could keep on extending their term of office on flimsy excuses.

“The opposition YBs (elected representatives) could also be tempted to give support to the extension of DUN because it is in their interests or to their benefit to do so. There will be no need to go back to the electorates to retain their seats in DUN.

“That is an attempt to thwart democracy,” he added.

If GPS government is sincere to preserve democracy, Voon pointed out that the GPS could do so by going all out to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and break the infections chain in order to pave ways for elections before or within 60 days as required by law from date of expiry of their term on June 6, 2021.

“What we have observed is that GPS had not done enough and lapsed in the ways they fought this Covid-19.

“By now, if all measures (had) been strictly enforced, Covid-19 may have been erased or at most would stay at single-digit rate each day,” he said, adding that this could give confidence for elections to be held but not at the moment.

He noted that the Covid-19 cases shot up dramatically due to the lack of enforcement and measures taken in the Sabah elections and that federal minister were allowed to come into Sarawak without adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOP).

“If other countries like Mongolia, Taiwan and New Zealand could fight the Covid-19 well, there is no reason why Sarawak could not do it.

“It was reported that Taiwan, which has nearly 24 million citizens, has had only 451 cases and seven deaths as on July 15, 2020 (see CNBC). If Taiwan with such a huge population could control Covid-19 well, there is no reason why Sarawak with just 2.8 million could not do it.

“New Zealand was able to control the Covid-19 well which led it to hold elections recently,” he emphasised. – DayakDaily