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KUCHING, July 31: Persatuan Pemangkin Daya Masyarakat (ROSE) calls on the Election Commission of Malaysia (EC) to prioritise on the safety and democratic rights of Sarawakians once the Emergency is lifted.
Its president Anne Teo in a statement today, said the EC has failed to utilise the period of the national emergency (for seven months) to adapt and innovate towards ensuring a safe election for future disasters and crisis.
According to Teo, with the six-month extension of Emergency in Sarawak, as proclaimed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on July 30, EC should use the period to show that they are progressive, independent and world class by setting out their plan.
“After all, the current instability of the Federal government does mean they have to be prepared for a General Election anytime after Aug 1, 2021.
“At such times of public health crisis and pandemic, we the ‘rakyat’ need a people-oriented, accountable, transparent and prepared government (be it national or state) and our rights to choose our government at regular intervals via safe and inclusive elections should be protected and guaranteed,” she said.
Teo pointed out that unless the mechanisms for safe election for Sarawak are put in place instantly, holding the election at any time or six months down the road is going to be risky.
“The sooner we wake up to the fact that Covid-19 virus is likely to become endemic and full vaccinations (2 doses) will not completely protect us from getting infected with the virus, the better.
“If it does become endemic, it will no longer be good enough for decision makers to say “we will have our elections when we reach herd immunity,” she added.
Teo noted despite many lessons that it could have been learnt from the 128 countries that have conducted their election between Feb 2020 and July 2021, the EC has not revealed their plan for making the election safe and inclusive, in particular the measures and method to counter travel and movement restrictions so as to encourage voter turnout and participation.
“Specifically, we are referring to Special Voting Arrangements that would enable voters to cast their vote without turning up in person at the polling station on polling day.
“They include postal voting, advance voting, mobile voting, proxy voting and even electronic voting. There are also many ways to enable safe campaigning to take place,” she said. — DayakDaily