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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Oct 22: A political analyst has predicted that if the Sarawak Election were to be held this year, it will be at the end of November or early December.
Associate Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi from University Malaya (UM) said if the King were to agree to lift the Emergency Ordinance earlier than Feb 2022, then the pending State Election may be called between the last week of November and the first week of December this year.
He surmised that the second week of December, which falls into the monsoon season and the school holidays, Christmas celebrations and other year-end celebrations, was not a time suitable to hold the election.
He acknowledged that there has been perception that the ruling coalition is trying to push for the State polls before the Emergency expires due to its concern for Undi18, which would allow youths aged 18 and above to vote. The previous minimum age for voting was 21.
“If the State polls were to be held in February 2022, where Undi18 and the Automatic Registration of Voters are in effect, there may be cause for concern for GPS, especially in urban area and among the Chinese voters,” Awang Azman told DayakDaily.
However, he believed that GPS will be quite confident because it has access to all government machinery where voters may cast their votes in favour of the ruling coalition out of gratitude.
“Comparatively, Pakatan Harapan and Parti Sarawak Bersatu have less ability to spend to help the people because they are not in the ruling coalition. This is where GPS will enjoy an advantage over others and thus, in favour of an election within this year,” said Awang Azman, who also pointed out that it was only a difference of two or three months if the State Elections were to be held this year or next.
He added that the coming State Election will be different from the previous ones in three aspects.
This will be the first time GPS is contesting under its new name and new logo instead of under the familiar moniker of ‘Barisan Nasional’.
Secondly, the State polls will be different this time around due to the Covid-19 pandemic which has adversely impacted the economy. It would be difficult to anticipate how it will affect the behaviour of voters and the voting pattern.
Thirdly, if the State election were to take place, it will be done under the new norms and new standard operating procedures (SOP). This, said, Awang Azman, will bring considerable inconvenience to the voters which may cause a low voter turnout rate. — DayakDaily