Date of state polls is EC’s prerogative

Professor Dr Jayum Jawan

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Nov 6: In Malaysia, the dates of elections are not decided by the ruling party but by the Election Commission (EC), said a political scientist of Universiti Putra Malaysia, Bintulu campus Prof Dr Jayum Jawan.

Similarly, the date of the upcoming Sarawak election will also be decided by the EC.

“The date of (upcoming Sarawak) election is not decided by the ruling party but by the EC. What the ruling party decides is when to call for the dissolution of DUN (State Legislative Assembly) to pave way for the elections.

“After the dissolution is official, EC will meet to decide and by the Constitution, EC has to decide that elections must be held within 60 days for Sarawak,” Jayum told DayakDaily here today.

He added that the conduct of the election is also not under the purview of the ruling party but under the EC as well.

“How an election is to be conducted lies with the EC which must issue, hopefully, stricter guidelines in order to arrest the Covid-19 pandemic and ensure the safety of the candidates as well as the voters when elections are held during this challenging times,” he added.

Jayum was commenting on recent news report whereby Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) secretary-general Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi had said that GPS has not yet decided on any dates for the coming state election.

Nanta, who is also Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) secretary-general, had said that the timing of state election mentioned by Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar recently was just his personal opinion as so far, GPS had not held any meeting over the timing of the next state polls.

The Kapit MP was responding to Wan Junaidi’s earlier comments that the state election could be held either in January or March next year despite Sarawak’s ongoing battle with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nanta who is also Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister had also advised the people to “stay calm” and wait for the official announcement from Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and the GPS Supreme Leadership Council (SLC) instead.

“Let’s just wait till the YAB CM and GPS SLC decide. So far there is no meeting of the GPS SLC to discuss the state election,” Nanta was quoted recently.

He added that the GPS government was very concerned about the Covid-19 pandemic and was taking seriously the danger of the pandemic on the safety and lives of Sarawakians.

In an earlier report, Wan Junaidi, who is PBB supreme council member and also Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives, had suggested that the best time for the upcoming state election to be held is either in January or March next year.

Yesterday, State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar had clarified that the current term of the DUN ends on June 6, 2021 and Sarawak has to hold the state election on or before August 6, 2021. Under the Sarawak Constitution, the state election must be held within 60 days after the dissolution of the DUN. — DayakDaily