Masing: Power to declare Emergency in Sarawak lies with the King

Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

KUCHING, Nov 20: Parti Rakyat Bersatu (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing reiterates that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has the necessary power to declare a state of emergency in Sarawak to postpone the 12th state election if the Covid-19 pandemic still persist.

He said, under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution, there are three grounds for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to declare an emergency such as: threat to security; threat to economic life and threat to public order.

“Yes, Putrajaya can get the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to declare an emergency in Sarawak based on any one or all of the three conditions specified under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution.

“Once an emergency is declared in a state, the State Constitution is also suspended. The executives from Putrajaya rules,” Masing said in a statement issued here today.

Masing, who also Deputy Chief Minister, concurred with the view expressed by Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) supreme council member Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi that if the coming state election is to be suspended by way of declaring a state of emergency as was done for Batu Sapi by-election in Sabah, the federal government must consult Sarawak on the matter first.

The Santubong MP said, the federal government, be it the prime minister or a federal minister representing the Cabinet must discuss the matter with the chief minister and all government agencies such as the Election Commission, Ministry of Health, the police and the army.

Wan Junaidi was commenting on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decision to declare an emergency for Batu Sapi following the spike of Covid-19 cases in Sabah. With the emergency being enforced, the Batu Sapi by-election will be postponed indefinitely.

Additionally, PBB information chief Datuk Idris Buang yesterday said, should the state of emergency be imposed on Sarawak in order to postpone the State election during the Covid-19 pandemic, it has to be implemented state-wide.

Idris argued that unlike Batu Sapi’s by-election case, Sarawak’s election would involve the entire state.

“Therefore, should there be any emergency, it has to be an all-encompassing one, enveloping the whole of Sarawak thus deferring the State election sine die,” Idris asserted in a statement yesterday.

Idris, who is also Muara Tuang assmeblyman, asserted that it would also meant that all provisions regarding election under the State and Federal Constitutions would be “suspended” for that period of emergency until it is lifted.

The Batu Sapi parliamentary constituency fell vacant following the demise of its MP the late Datuk Liew Vui Keong last month.

As for Sarawak, the current term of the State Legislative Assembly expires on June 6, 2021 and thereafter it has 60 days for the State election to be held. — DayakDaily