Dr Yii: Call for State elections only after electoral reforms are in place

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, July 28: Hold the Sarawak Elections only after electoral reforms are implemented to ensure safe voting for all Sarawakians including those not in Sarawak, says Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.

He asserted that a localised Emergency Order (EO) must be imposed in Sarawak until the necessary electoral reforms are in place, despite Sarawak’s achievement of over 80 per cent of its adult population being vaccinated to-date.

“Having a conventional (State) election this year would be disastrous.

“We are still reeling from the health fallout from the recently concluded Sabah state elections, which sparked the third wave all around the country.

“That should have served a strong reminder that the necessary reforms must be in place to ensure all Sarawakians can exercise their democratic right to vote in a safer environment,” he said.

Dr Yii also highlighted the active presence of the Delta variant in Sarawak which is more infectious and deadly.

Even if an election is called when 80 per cent herd immunity is achieved, the 14-day quarantine for Sarawakian returnees would hinder them from voting, he said.

“That is why, the Election Commission (EC) must make the necessary adjustments and procedural reforms including implementing the necessary SOP (standard operating procedure) including absentee voting or extending postal voting to those working or studying outside of Sarawak.

“Absentee or postal voting would make it easier for voters residing in other states to vote instead of them having to return home and cause a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases, as what happened in Sabah.

“This will require the EC gazette out-of-region voters as advance voters eligible for postal voting under Regulation 3(1)(e) of the Elections (Advance Voting) Regulations 2012 to implement such a process,” he said in a statement today.

Dr Yii believed that such reforms can not only preserve the fundamental rights of Sarawakian voters, but also encourage more voter participation.

He was responding to recent statements by various political parties and leaders on the possible revocation of Malaysia’s state of Emergency ending August 1, 2021.

The lifting of the EO will signify the end of the extended 18th Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) as the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 took precedence over Sarawak DUN which term was supposed to end June 6.

With the Emergency lifted, Sarawak will have no choice but to hold an election within 60 days, unless the Yang di-Pertuan Agaong and Head of State (TYT) intervenes. — DayakDaily