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KUCHING, Nov 4: Persatuan Pemangkin Daya Masyarkat (ROSE) is calling upon the Election Commission (EC) to formulate and implement absentee voting to various categories of voters.
Its president Ann Teo suggested that one such category is for Sarawakians who are staying in Peninsular Malaysia or Sabah and who would need to take time off and spend money to return to Sarawak.
“Another is of course those working or living in Singapore and the neighbouring Asean region.
“We call on the EC to allow them to be postal voters or advance voters who can vote at special polling centres set up in major cities or at least one city in each state of the Peninsular,” she said in a statement today.
The other category is the elderly in care homes or those in quarantine centres who should not lose their right to vote.
On the upcoming 12th Sarawak Election (PRN12), Teo pointed out that there should not be a blanket ban on meetings or gatherings related to elections like what stated by Health Ministry without making alternative provisions for campaigning.
She believed if physical campaigns were to be banned and EC failed to provide alternative forms of campaigning, this would discriminate against opposition parties and their candidates who needed to reach voters with their manifesto.
Adding on, Teo said EC needs to seriously look at PRN12 and the different set of challenges it poses and come up with appropriate standard operating procedures (SOP) in advance.
She pointed out that EC has yet to release the SOP for the Melaka state election although the nomination date is on Nov 8.
Meanwhile, Teo predicted that voter turnout for the upcoming Sarawak Election will be low, which in her opinion will directly affect the legitimacy of the institution the people elect.
“Voter turnout has always been one of the lowest in Sarawak compared with other states.
“With the Covid-19 situation still at worrying levels and the detection of Delta sub-variants, there is a huge possibility that voters will not go back to vote or come out to vote,” Teo predicted.
The Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) is automatically dissolved following the revocation of the Emergency Proclamation effective yesterday, thus paving the way for PRN12 to be held within 60 days.
A Federal Government Gazette received today stated that the revocation of the proclamation of Emergency for Sarawak was assented by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah yesterday was in line with Clauses (1) and (3) of Article 150 of the Federal Constitution.
The King had on July 29 proclaimed a six-month emergency in Sarawak from Aug 2 to Feb 2, 2022 in a move to prevent further spread of Covid-19 if a state election is held.
The Sarawak DUN should have been dissolved on June 2021, five years from the date of its first meeting.
Nevertheless, the provisions could not take effect due to the implementation of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021. — DayakDaily