Extend Emergency and postpone 12th State Election, says Sedar

Dato Othman Abdullah

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By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, July 25: Parti Sedar Rakyat Sarawak (Sedar) has called on the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government to advise Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to extend the state of Emergency, which ends on Aug 1, for Sarawak so that the 12th State Election (PRN12) can be postponed.

The call is made amid talks that PRN12 can be held once 80 per cent of Sarawak’s population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Its president Dato Othman Abdullah in a press statement said the government should not be putting the people’s lives at risk by holding PRN12 when the Covid-19 situation is yet to be abated coupled with the emergence of the Delta variant.

He believed the GPS government should take heed from the lesson of Sabah state election last year where Covid-19 cases spiked after the state election was held.

“It is risky for Sarawak to hold the PRN12 anytime this year.

“Looking at our case numbers and the emergence of the Delta variant cases in recent days, the likelihood of significantly flattening the curve anytime soon is remote as there is no sustained and convincing downward trend.

“Even if Sarawak can get its cases flattened in the next couple of months or by year-end, that will not happen for the rest of the country, where 15,000 new cases occurred in a day.

“Thus, the requirement for entry into Sarawak will still need to be severely restricted, burdened with tests and quarantine requirements, not to mention limiting the number of inbound flights.

“Many will not be able to afford the time and money to return and cast their votes.

“Sarawak’s voters from outside are therefore going to be deprived of their constitutional rights, which is tantamount to voter suppression and undemocratic,” he said.

Othman said a fair and free election is the hallmark of democracy.

He added all eligible voters from within and outside Sarawak must have the maximum opportunity to cast their votes.

For that, Othman noted that Sarawak needed more than a day in the past to complete an election to ensure that those remotely placed were able to reach the ballot box.

He opined that any enforced circumstantial restrictions on voters from casting their votes against their free will is not democracy. — DayakDaily