Muda Sarawak wants EC, govt put in place effective plan for safe and fair polls

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KUCHING, Nov 4: Muda Sarawak has urged the Election Commission (EC) and the Sarawak government to take steps in ensuring a safe and fair election amidst the Covid-19 pandemic by lengthening polling hours, adopting technology in the electoral process and offering affordably-priced flight tickets to ease mobility of voters.
The Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) Sarawak Pro-tem State Executive Committee said that they shared the same concerns with Yang di-Pertuan Agong about the risk of increasing infections if the Sarawak election is to be held.

As such, they have questioned GPS’ move in rushing to conduct the election at an unfavourable time particularly when Undi18 has yet to be implemented and the Covid-19 situation in Sarawak is still at a worrying level. 

“Why is GPS rushing for the polls when the pandemic is still worrying with ICU (intensive care unit) beds nearly 70 per cent utilised and the number of deaths is still high. 


“Even though the number of cases has dropped, it is still at three-figure. Is it because GPS is afraid of the Undi18?” Muda Sarawak asked in a statement today in response to the revocation of the emergency in Sarawak. 

With the King assent to lift the emergency in Sarawak yesterday (Nov 3), this led to the automatic dissolution of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) and paved the way for the 12th State Election which must be conducted within 60 days. 

Taking the lessons from Sabah election last year, Muda Sarawak thus suggested several reforms that needed to be considered by the EC and Sarawak government so as to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections spread during the upcoming election. 

“The polling centres must be well equipped with necessary tools and closely monitored to ensure it can accommodate the number of voters while complying with the latest SOP (standard operating procedure). 

“The polling hours should be stretched to reduce congestion at polling centres. Otherwise, the number of polling centres should be increased.

“To limit campaigning activities to digital or online only,” it proposed. 

The group also urged the government to ensure that flight tickets are priced affordably so that Sarawakian voters have the fair opportunity to exercise their rights as well as putting in place appropriate procedures for people under quarantine to cast their votes to avoid missing out.

Given the huge geographical area in Sarawak which can pose difficulty in controlling the spread of Covid-19 from one area to another, especially in the rural areas, Muda Sarawak also called for the SOP to take into account the increase in inter-state and inter-district movement. 

“A mitigation plan needed to be drawn up to respond in the event of an outbreak.” 

Muda Sarawak reminded EC and the government to always place the safety and wellbeing of the people as priority.— DayakDaily